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Illegal sand mining, soaring gravel prices rock House 

Chandigarh: The delay in tabling of the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the Narang Commission, fixing accountability of certain ruling party MLAs in illegal sand mining trade and soaring prices of sand and gravel rocked the zero hour proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday.

Amid walkout by the Aam Aadmi Party (APP), verbal spat between Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Akali leader Bikram Majithia spilled over to aggressive posturing and gestures. Sidhu had to be literally pulled back by his party colleague Vijay Inder Singla before the things could take an ugly turn.

As the din over mining taint against certain ruling party MLAs continued, Khaira again created furore when he mentioned name of former Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh in context of Gurinder Singh, an accused in the irrigation scam, partly funding the sand mining auction bid of the firm in which a former employee of Rana Gurjit Singh was a working partner.

As Khaira made a statement about the government giving clean chit to Rana Gurjit by refunding security deposits of Rs 29 crore of the two firms, Rana Gurjit, joined by his party colleagues, entered into a heated argument with the Leader of the Opposition by making personal remarks on his family background.

Reacting to assertions made by Khaira, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said it was wrong on part of Khaira to make a statement on the basis of little facts. He said the House would be apprised of the investigations in the irrigation scam.

Coming to rescue of Rana Gurjit, Chief Minster said though nothing had been proved against Rana, he had resigned on moral grounds.

Treasury benches strongly objected to all ruling party MLAs being labelled as involved in illegal mining.

Led by Congress legislator Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, the Treasury benches took strong note of news reports in a section of media in which the Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Khaira is mentioned to have stated that all legislators of the ruling party were involved in illegal mining. As Sukhpal Khaira denied on the floor of the House of having made any such statement, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra sought verification of recording of Monday proceedings of the House when Khaira spoke.

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