Jharkhand minister questions renewal of 105 mining leases

Ranchi, Jan 11 (IANS) Jharkhand Food and Supply Minister Saryu Rai has questioned his own BJP government’s decision to renew the leases of 105 mines.

Rai walked out from the cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening expressing his displeasure over the move.

According to an official present in the cabinet meeting, Rai questioned the decision to renew the leases, saying the cabinet did not have the power to do so.

He walked out of the meeting, sarcastically saying that if the CBI ever probes the move consequent to a change in government, he does not want to go jail, the official added.

The Raghubar Das-led Bharatiya Janata Party government had, at a cabinet meeting last December at which Rai was not present, approved the renewals.

Rai had reportedly written a letter to the Chief Minister raising some questions over the renewals.

“The mines are closed for last several years. Every aspect should have been discussed before taking such a decision. I was not present in last cabinet meeting. I was on official tour.

“I learnt that the lease holders were given approval to renew the mines leases. Cabinet is to form polices. The cabinet decision is not policy based…The lease renewal should take place as per mining act,” Rai reportedly said in the letter.