Breaking his silence on the land deal between the State government and JSW Steel, Infrastructure Development, Haj and Wakf Minister and Ballari in-charge Anand Singh said that he would continue to oppose the deal as firmly as he had done in the past.
Speaking to media representatives in Ballari on Friday, Mr. Singh said that he still held his ground on the issue and there was no change in his stance.
“I had strongly opposed the State government decision to sell 3665 acres of government lands at Toranagal in Ballari district to JSW Steel. I am discontented with the recent Cabinet decision to go ahead with the deal. I had opposed the deal when it was initiated and I continue to oppose it. I will register my protest in the next Cabinet meeting. The lands in question are worth around ₹3,000 crore and the government is selling them for ₹50 crore or ₹60 crore. It doesn’t look nice not just to me but to all,” he said.
Mr. Singh said that he would make his stand clear once again before Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and take a decision based on the latter’s response. “The government should not sell the lands to JSW Steel. Rather, let the company use the lands as long as it is here. After that, it should hand over the lands to the government.”
The land deal had triggered controversy in 2019 when the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy had decided to sell the lands on a lease-cum-sale agreement. The BJP, which was in the Opposition then, had vehemently opposed the deal by stating that the government was selling the public lands at a throwaway price. Mr. Singh, who was in the Congress then, had tendered his resignation to Assembly membership opposing the land deal and later joined the BJP. He was offered a Cabinet berth in the B.S. Yediyurappa government when it assumed power after the fall of H.D. Kumaraswamy government.
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