Odisha Assembly to debate power tariff hike on Monday

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 27:

With the issue of the power tariff hike repeatedly disrupting proceedings in the Odisha Assembly for the fourth sonsecutive day today, Speaker Niranjan Pujari today ruled that the issue would be debated in the House on March 30 (Monday) since both the Energy Minister and the departmental secretary are not present in the state capital.

BJD members protesting MCL's decision to back out of the 'Aahaar' scheme near the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Assembly permises (Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra)
BJD members protesting MCL’s decision to back out of the ‘Aahaar’ scheme near the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Assembly permises
(Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra)

Proceedings of the House were disrupted again today as Opposition members rushed into the well with the start of the Question Hour raising slogans and waving placards demanding roll back of the electricity tariff hike and a debate on the issue.

Subsequently, ruling BJD members too rushed into the well of the House and protested against Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) withdrawing from the Aahaar scheme of the state government. Later, they staged a dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Assembly premises.

The Congress has described ruling party members rushing into the well of the House as a condemnable incident.

“Ruling party members rushing into the well of the House and creating noisy scenes is a condemnable incident. If the government is determined not to withdraw the electricity tariff hike, it should make it clear the decision is not going to be revoked under any circumstance. Then we can resume the House. What happened today was most unfortunate. The opposition rushed into the well of the House, the ruling party members too rushed into the well. The situation was most unfortunate the way the Speaker lingered on the issue. The Speaker perhaps wanted the message to go out that he is from the BJD. The Speaker should not indulge in any act that brings his impartiality into question,” Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi told reporters outside the House.

The BJP accused the BJD of doing ‘nautanki’ whenever some issue of larger public interest is raised in the House.

“The BJP presented its opinion on the issue of rolling back of the increase in electricity tariff in the House. When the Opposition raises some issue in the larger interest of the people of the state, BJD members start a nautanki programme. They do it to divert people’s attention from the larger issue concerning them. That is the reason they created a scene today by holding placards on an unnecessary issue of MCL and rushed into the well of the House. This is a regular practice of nautanki by BJD members. In a well planned and organized manner, they wish to divert public attention away from larger issues. Whatever they do, the way they have burdened the farmer and common man with this decision this agitation is not going to die down,” said Pradip Purohit BJP MLA talking to reporters outside the House.

The ruling BJD reacted along expected lines defending the action of its members in raising the MCL issue and said welfare programmes started by the BJD during its regime is causing heartburn among the Opposition, which had taken up no such programmes for the poor when they were in power.

“The government had requested corporate houses and had asked for Rs 3 crore from MCL. While it had granted Rs 300 crore for Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, it has rejected outright the chief minister’s request for a mere Rs 3 crore. When they were in power, the opposition had shown no sympathy nor had they provided any assistance to the people during their period of rule. They had not floated a single scheme during their regime. Now hat Naveen Patnaik is doing it, they are having heartburn. They are not even able to understand the schemes initiated by the state government and are just creating noise,” said Ananta Das, Government Chief Whip.

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