Haryana House witnesses fireworks over drugs, illegal mining

The defence put up by ruling BJP-JJP coalition notwithstanding, the treasury benches came under heavy fire from Congress, the main opposition party in Haryana, and the INLD during the recently concluded three-day monsoon session, reports Rajesh Moudgil

The opposition parties – Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) – remained consistent in their scathing attack against the ruling BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) combine throughout the recently held three-day monsoon session on various issues including extortion calls to legislators, illegal mining and the rapid spread of drug menace in the state.

On the day one of the session, the treasury benches came under severe criticism of the opposition parties when the Congress also staged walk-outs twice on the issue of what its members termed as the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

The leader of opposition, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is also Congress legislature party (CLP) leader while speaking on the issue, objected to the converting of the adjournment notice move of the Congress’ members into a calling attention motion, which, he held was to undermine the seriousness of the said issue.

Hooda highlighted the recent extortion calls and threats to about six legislators of Haryana as well as several other incidents exposing deteriorating law and order situation. He held that the Congress members expected a longer and detailed discussion on the issue with participation of more members which could not be possible as it had been converted into a calling attention motion which had its limitations of time and participation.

Senior Congress legislator Raghuvir Kadian held that all the state issues including the economic growth were also related to the law and order issue, hence the need to discuss it threadbare instead of trivialising it by reducing the time for discussion. Even though the heated arguments continued for long, several Congress MLAs staged a walk-out against the ruling BJP-JJP combine. They also gave example of the brutal murder of Surender Singh, a DSP deputed in Nuh district by mining mafia when he was carrying out a raid against the miscreants on July 19, last.

Home Minister Anil Vij during his answer after several members including Geeta Bhukkal, B L Saini, Jaivir Valmiki, Balraj Kundu, Shamsher Gogi and Neeraj Sharma and leader of another opposition party – Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) – had spoken on the issue, detailed the House of the incidents of illegal mining during Congress rule.

However, Vij’s reply further miffed Congress legislators who held that Vij’s reaction also reflected how the ruling government was trying to trivialise the issue instead of seeing its gravity and again staged a walk-out.

The treasury benches again faced scathing attack of the Congress on the second day of the session on the issue of illegal mining and the DSP Surender Singh’s murder by mining mafia in Nuh. The House witnessed arguments between the treasury benches and opposition members including the leader of the House, Manohar Lal Khattar and the leader of the opposition, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Giving statistics on how the illegal mining was handled with iron hand by the BJP government since 2014, Khattar said that while the state had earned about Rs 1,267 crore revenue from mining from 2005 to 2014 during the Congress rule, the same jumped to Rs 4,660 crore since 2014 during the present rule, to this date.

Countering the same, the Congress members held that the data itself showed the sharp increase in the cases during BJP rule and the less number during Congress rule was due to the ban on mining during its regime.

Abhay Chautala of another opposition party – Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) – also hit out at the government and said that the state government had failed to act firmly against the mining mafia since the past about eight years and hence the shocking murder of the DSP occurred on July 19, 2022 while he was checking the illegal mining in the Tauru area of Nuh district.

However, the mining minister Mool Chand Sharma informed the House that all the 12 accused including the main accused of the DSP’s murder had been arrested.

Lumpy skin disease in Haryana

Replying to another calling attention motion moved by Congress MLAs Amit Sihag and Sheesh Pal on the issue of lumpy skin disease (LSD) in Haryana, the Haryana animal husbandry and dairying minister J  P Dalal said that out of the total 62.92 lakh bovine (buffalo and bovine) animals in the state, 19.32 lakh were bovines. Giving a brief description of the total number of LSD cases till August 08, 2022, he said that the number of affected villages is 482, the number of affected cattle is 6,135 the number of affected buffalo is zero, the number of samples taken for diagnosis is 161, and the number of dead animals is 23.

The issue of alleged rapid spread of drug menace in the state dominated the last day of the three-day monsoon session when several of the opposition members took on the treasury benches while participating in a calling attention motion on the issue.

Home Minister Anil Vij in his reply said that the Haryana State Narcotics Control Bureau (HSNCB), set up in August 2020, and all districts Anti-Narcotics Cells (ANC) had attached properties of the culprits worth about Rs 25 crore.

Vij further informed the House that in the year 2020, Haryana police registered 2,982 cases under the NDPS Act and arrested 4,477 persons and recovered about 221 kg of Opium, besides other drugs. In 2021 the police registered 2,745 cases under NDPS act, arrested 3,975 persons and recovered about 345 kg of opium, about 29 kg of heroin, over 13 lakh tablets and 45,280 capsules. He said that this calendar year up to August 2 the police had registered 2,334 cases and arrested 3,209 persons and recovered about 181 kg of opium and about 20 kg of heroin.

However, the INLD member, Abhay Chautala alleged that the drug menace was still rapidly increasing and the situation was grave in 11 districts of the state. He alleged that at least 329 persons had died because of the drug overdose, he said that 33 persons died during the past about one and half years alone who were aged between 18 and 30 years.

Speaking on the issue, Congress’ legislator Amit Sihag highlighted the severity of the issue alleging that in Sirsa alone where about 1,919 persons were admitted in the drug de-addiction centre in 2015, while the number of such persons had jumped manifold now. He held that unemployment was also one of the reasons that the people in the state were taking to drugs and some of them to crimes because of the drugs. He demanded a concrete and time-bound plan to check the drug menace. Legislators Sheesh Pal and Neeraj Sharma also took on the treasury benches on the issue.

House sees new practices

Beginning this session, however, the Haryana assembly introduced a few new practices – while all the members have been provided with Tablets installed at their seats, it was the first time that the three-session had one sitting a day.