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Mir dares Omar for public debate on land lease issue

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, Nov 23 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Mohammad Dilawar Mir today dared National Conference (NC) president Omar Abdullah for a public debate on a state government decision to auction land at the world famous tourist resort of Gulmarg.

Incidentally, Mr Mir had left the NC a few months ago to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and subsequently became a Minister in the coalition government led by Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress.

''If Mr Abdullah has the courage to come forward and discuss the issue, we are ready to hold a public debate not only with him but all those opposing the decision,'' he told a news conference here.

Mr Mir challenged Mr Abdullah to open a ''Pandora's box'' on the issue and vowed to expose all the ''wrongs'' committed by the previous NCregimes in the state.

The Minister said the previous NC governments had leased out about 100 kanals (five hectares) of state land to Nedous which entered into a tie-up with the Taj group and about 400 kanals (20 hectares) was given to Batra group at a premium rate of Rupee one per kanal.

He also threatened to retire from active politics if it was proved at any time that the PDP was playing with the sentiments and the interests of the people of the state.

Earlier Mr Abdullah alleged that the decision was a ''conspiracy hatched by New Delhi and executed'' by the PDP.

When the PDP introduced the (lease) Bill in the state Assembly, he said the NC opposed it.

''We knew the Bill was part of a conspiracy hatched by New Delhi.

PDP patron and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was used by New Delhi for the same and he did it,'' Mr Abdullah alleged.

Mr Mir said the decision was not taken by New Delhi, but by the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.

UNI AG VD DB1852

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