GUWAHATI, Nov 29 - The Legislative Assembly today witnessed noisy scenes over the issue of �syndicates�, with Congress legislator Rupjyoti Kurmi being suspended from the House for the remaining part of the day�s session for disobeying the Speaker and the other MLAs of the principal opposition party staging a walkout, even as the State government asserted that there are no syndicates in Assam.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Congress legislator Ajanta Neog cited newspaper reports and alleged that syndicates have proliferated across the State. Neog demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter. She said that syndicates are operational in coal, supari and various other items.
�There is illegal coal mining in districts like Tinsukia. Such rat hole mining of coal has caused deforestation and ecological problems even in reserved forest areas... The North Eastern Coalfields has registered 157 cases in this regard. But there has been no progress in investigations of those cases. The media has highlighted the issue prominently,� Neog said.
She said that even ruling party MLA Suren Phukan had recently released a video in social media alleging illegal transportation of coal.
�Rather than denying the existence of syndicates, the government should act against them. The government only talks about zero tolerance... But, syndicates are functioning openly. We demand a CBI inquiry into syndicates,� said the Congress legislator.
Her party colleague Sherman Ali Ahmed also supported the demand.
�The State is losing crores of rupees due to coal syndicates. Besides, illegal mining of coal is posing a grave threat to the wildlife and biodiversity in reserved forests,� he said.
In his reply, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary categorically denied the existence of syndicates in the State.
�There are no syndicates in the State under the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government,� Patowary said, adding that he will submit his resignation if his statement is found to be false.
�Our government�s zero tolerance policy against corruption remains in place and it will continue to remain so in the future as well,� said the minister.
He added that immediately after the video released by Phukan came to the notice of the government, the Chief Minister ordered senior civil and police officials to look into the matter.
Patowary said that the CID is already conducting an investigation into the matter of alleged syndicates and a case registered at the Karimganj police station has been handed over to the CBI for inquiry.
�Syndicates have ceased to exist in the State due to the steps taken by this government. If you (Congress MLAs) give me any proof about syndicates anywhere in the State, I will pass it on to the police. We will not allow syndicates in the State. If the opposition has any proof, they should hand it to us. If the government fails to take action, then you can criticise us,� Patowary said.