RS adjourned twice on mining policy

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) The Rajya Sabha was plunged into turmoil and had to be adjourned twice today after BJD member B J Panda alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to meet Chief Ministers of five mineral rich states who wanted to discuss the draft mineral policy.

Raising the issue as a Special Mention during Zero hour, Mr Panda said the Chief Ministers of Jharkand, Rajasthan, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka have sought appointment with the Prime Minister to discuss the Mineral policy but were refused.

''The Prime Minister has the time to visit Singapore and Uganda but he is not bothered about meeting the Chief Ministers,'' he said.

He was supported by BJP members Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha who demanded that the government must come out with a statement on the issue.

Mr Shourie said it was amazing that the Draft Mineral Bill has not been put on the official website.

Chairman Hamid Ansari said Mr Panda had already made his point and he could not force the government to make a reply.

This drew loud protests from opposition and Left allies forcing the Chair to adjourn the House for 10 minutes. When the House reassembled it was again adjourned for ten minutes.

Later Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who heads the GoM on the Mineral policy, said the Prime Minister has always been considerate in meeting any important person.

Mr Patil said only the draft of the Mineral policy had been prepared and it had to be referred back to the Cabinet.

Infact, all the five Chief Ministers made their representation at the GoM meeting and the government will welcome any further suggestions from them and other stake holders, Mr Patil said.

The government has no intention of hurting the sentiments of the Chief Ministers.


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