Rift in Raman Singh govt over mega housing scheme

Rift in Raman Singh

Serious differences have cropped up within the Raman Singh Ministry in Chhattisgarh over a controversial mega town development scheme.

Senior BJP ministers and other party leaders have questioned various aspects, including acquisition of land, of the massive project, ‘Kamal Vihar’, proposed to come up on 14,000 acres around the state capital. The Raipur Development Authority (RDA) is executing the Rs 815.38-crore project.

The differences came to the fore last week after two senior ministers — Public Works and Tourism Minister Brijmohan Agrawal and Revenue and Commercial Taxes Minister Amar Agrawal — voiced their protest when the issue of stamp duty exemption came up before the cabinet.

The protests grew louder gradually with former union minister Ramesh Bais — BJP’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha —and other party leaders joining hands. They alleged elected representatives were not taken into confidence before finalising the scheme.

State Agriculture Minister Chandra Shekhar Sahu — who has been advocating for a legislation to protect farm land from being diverted for other purposes, including industrial use — also has reservations, party sources said.

Sahu, a former Member of Parliament, has apprised central leaders about the situation. The opponents want the BJP central leadership to intervene as they feel the project in its present form would harm the party, a minister said.

Chief Minister Raman Singh sought to downplay the controversy. “There are no differences among ministers. A presentation would be made before the cabinet and other elected representatives over all aspects of the project and its benefits”.


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