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Tourism Minister demands CBI inquiry

Written by: Staff

Shimla, Mar 29 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Tourism and Transport Minister G S Bali today demanded a CBI inquiry into corruption charges levelled against him by the BJP, saying only an impartial inquiry will bring out the truth.

''People, who have been levelling charges of corruption against me, will only be silenced after an impartial inquiry. I, therefore, demand a CBI inquiry into charges of corruption levelled against me time and again,'' he told UNI here.

The state unit of the BJP had accused the Virbhadra Singh government of widespread corruption in the state on March five earlier this month, while making specific charges of corruption against six ministers.

Mr Bali said corruption charges was the result of serious infighting between the BJP party and nothing more.

Referring to the state government's decision on the setting up of the Ski village in Kullu district of the state, he said the government decision on the project would only be taken on its merits.

He said the government would not allow the communalisation of the issue to serve narrow political ends, adding that Gods would never oppose development of the state.

''We are living in the 21st century and claims of Gods opposing the setting up of the village are not acceptable. If still someone feels the decision is wrong, he can move a court of law.''

Mr Bali said the government would only be providing five acres of land for the project, while the company has to buy the rest of the land from the local people. ''It is for the local people to decide whether they want to sell their lands for the project or not,'' Mr Bali said. The project, the largest proposed foreign direct investment in the Indian Tourism Industry, was mired in controversy as soon as the HO government signed an MoU with Alfred Ford's Himalayan Ski Village Project Private Limited last October.

Work on the Himalayan Ski Village, to be completed by 2009, was likely to start towards the end of this year.

Alfred Ford, the great grandson of Henry Ford, has already said he would get the ski slopes, stretching 14 km between Kothi and Jagatsukh in Manali, designed by experts from Vail, Colorado in the USA.

The Village would have a 600-room five-star hotel, 300 chalets, food courts, a handicraft village, theatre complex, convention centre and a sanatorium.


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