BHUBANESWAR: Normalcy returned to the Assembly on Thursday after a two-day deadlock over the drought package announced by the State Government. This was possible with Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro admitting that there were certain disparities in his statements on crop damage caused due to the calamity.
“The disparities in the statements made by me, first on the basis of eye estimation report and then crop-cutting report, are not unnatural,” Patro told the Assembly. Opposition parties the Congress and the BJP had stalled the Assembly for the last two days accusing the Minister of misleading the House. Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh had demanded the resignation of the Minister for keeping the House in dark and giving different figures on the number of villages affected by the drought.
Singh’s demand for the Minister’s resignation was echoed by the BJP and the NCP legislators as well. Following the ruckus, Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat on Thursday had asked the Minister to give a clarification in the House on the questions raised by the Opposition.
Noisy scenes were witnessed in the House on Friday during Question Hour over the issue with the Opposition members storming into the Well demanding a clarification on the matter first. The House had to be adjourned as the Congress members shouted slogans in the Well. However, normalcy returned after the minister gave a statement during Zero Hour.
The Minister said on December 15, 2011, he had given the number of possible drought-hit villages on the basis of eye estimation report of crop loss while on February 22, 2012, his report was based on actual crop-cutting inputs submitted by district collectors. Patro said he had no intention of belittling the dignity of the House or the members in anyway. He assured that he would again convene a meeting of collectors to discuss the points raised by the members on the drought situation.