BHUBANESWAR: The Assembly on Wednesday witnessed pandemonium with the Opposition Congress and BJP seeking a reply from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the alleged corruption charges against the State Government by senior BJD leader and former minister Damodar Rout.The House was adjourned twice in the per-lunch session as members tried to climb Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat’s podium seeking direction to the Government to clarify the charges.
As soon as the House assembled for the day and the Question Hour began, several Congress and BJP legislators trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans against the ruling BJD and created din protesting various scams alleged by Rout.While the Congress members raised the alleged sapling scam in the Agriculture department, the BJP legislators created pandemonium on the alleged irregularities in the purchase of polypacks by the Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (OMFED) and disbursement of agricultural loans to farmers through cooperative banks.
The Congress MLAs also demanded a statement of the Agriculture Minister in the House over the sapling scam. The BJP members, on the other hand, demanded a CBI probe into the allegations.“The corruption charges made by Rout have its link to the Chief Minister’s Office. Let the State Government identify the officers involved in the corruptions and ‘mentor’ giving protections to the corrupt officials. Action must be taken against those involved in the corruption of Agriculture and Cooperation departments,” Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati told reporters outside the Assembly.
Senior BJP MLA Rabi Narayan Naik said Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy has already acknowledged the irregularities in his department. The Minister should reveal the names of the officers involved in the scam and take action against them.Rout, on the other hand, clarified that he has neither said anything against the Chief Minister or against BJD.
“I have not said anything against the Chief Minister or the party. The job of the Opposition is to make the wrongdoings of the Government public. However, they have failed in their duty. I felt it is my duty to point out if something is going wrong in the Government which I did,” Rout said.However, Maharathy said Rout had not brought anything (irregularities in the department) to his notice. The department will probe into irregularities and take action against those found guilty, he added.