The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today castigated finance minister Manpreet Badal for giving a clean signal for political mafia raj in Punjab by stating that one needed to be in politics to do business in the State.In a statement here, former finance minister and SAD leader Parminder Singh Dhindsa said it was strange that the finance minister was justifying running of the sand mining business by Congress leaders. He said Manpreet had also clearly stated that Congress legislators need not worry about conflict of interest issues while doing business in the State. Mr Dhindsa said by making such a statement Manpreet Badal had made it clear that he was helpless and could not provide clean and transparent governance in the State. "Not only this, we have a finance minister who is telling the people that the State will have to live with mafia raj in sand mining business for one year. Is it because the finance minister has realised that Congress politicians have a major hold on sand mining operations?", he asked.
Mr Dhindsa said Manpreet should make it clear whether he was signalling Congressmen who were engaged in the mining sand that they could continue with their nefarious activities and that no action would be taken against them. He said Manpreet Badal had made a statement today that the mining policy would be reworked after one year to eliminate the political mafia. "What is stopping them from reworking any policy ? They are in power. They had promised to end so called mafias within one month. Far from identifying and taking action against any perceived mafia, the Congress party is making out a case for encouraging mafia rule in the State", he added.The SAD leader said it was also strange that Manpreet Badal, who always espoused socialism earlier, had become a spokesman for a capitalist model. He said the finance minister had decided to go in for progressive bidding to increase State income from sand mining. "Has he given any thought to the plight of the common man. The rates of sand have gone up by five times since the change of government in Punjab. A truck of sand is now selling for Rs 28,000. This steep rate may witness a two time increase once the progressive bid method, which will auction blocks to the highest bidder, comes into force. Sand is likely to become costlier than cement in Punjab soon", Mr Dhindsa added.