Union Minister Virbhadra Singh blames BJP Govt for spreading corruption and accused Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for shielding the land mafia in State. Virbhadra Singh alleged that the mafia had spread its tentacles so deep and wide that even members of Team Anna were not beyond its grip.
Former Chief Minster blamed that all policies of the Dhumal government were aimed at selling off the state’s precious land to outsiders by bending laws. The opening of private universities, promotion of eco-tourism and permission to builders all pointed to shady land deals. He added that even member of Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan was among the beneficiaries. There were multiple violations in granting him permission for opening an educational institution as the land involved was part of a tea estate. The land could not be sold without first invoking the provisions of the Land Ceiling Act as tea estate owners were allowed to retain excess land beyond the ceiling on the condition they would remain so. Further, the land use could not be changed as it was the policy of the government to preserve Kangra tea.
Similarly, private universities had been given land beyond the limit set under the Act and now the government had brought in a Bill to amend the Act so that its illegal action could be regularised. These universities were, in fact, a front for carrying out real estate business. On coming to power, the Congress would have a thorough review and close down the unviable and substandard institutions, which were tarnishing the image of the state.
In its anxiety to oblige outsiders, the government had allotted forest land in the garb of promoting eco-tourism in blatant violation of the Forest Conservation Act. He said the policy was framed by his government with the objective of promoting trekking activities in the interior areas using forest rest houses as the base, but the present government had given thick forests to private parties and had not just allowed them to raise permanent structures, but also to open liquor bars and spas, making a mockery of eco-tourism.
All these blatant violations would not have been possible without the connivance of bureaucrats. He said his only concern was that the Himachal Lokhit Party, a breakaway group of the BJP, was raising these issues more effectively than the Congress, which did not augur well for the mainstream party.