BHUBANESWAR: The winter session of the Assembly on Tuesday started on a stormy note with Opposition staging a walkout in protest against Speaker Niranjan Pujari’s refusal to admit a motion for discussion on increasing incidents of farmers’ suicide in the State.
As the House assembled for the day, members observed observed one minute’s silence in memory of four former MLAs - Chandra Sekhar Pradhan, Rabindra Kumar Das, Raj Kishore Pradhan and Bidhu Bhusan Praharaj - who passed away.
After paying tributes on behalf of Congress party, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra made an obituary reference to the farmers who committed suicide due to crop loss and loan burden. He also paid tributes to some of the security personnel who died recently.
As the question hour began, Mishra urged the Speaker to allow a discussion on a motion given by him on farmers’ suicide by suspending the question hour and other businesses.
In his notice to the Speaker, Mishra said more than 100 farmers have committed suicide but the State Government has remained a mute spectator to the situation.
“The matter is serious and an issue of public importance which needs to be taken up immediately for discussion by suspending the question hour,” Mishra said in letter to the Speaker.
The Speaker said he had received the written motion and was examining it. He, however, did not allow for a discussion. Peeved over this, Congress and BJP members rushed to the well of the House raising anti-government slogans. As the ruckus continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 pm.
“What is wrong in paying tributes to the farmers who died in the calamity? Are they (farmers) not contributing to the nation?,” Mishra said outside the House.
As the Assembly resumed at 3 pm, the Speaker asked the Assembly Secretary to lay the list of Bills which have received the assent of Governor SC Jamir. Minister of Higher Education Pradeep Panigrahi introduced the Birla Global University, Odisha Bill, 2015.
When the Speaker asked Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat to present the supplementary budget for the current fiscal, the Leader of Opposition intervened and criticised the State Government for running away from a debate on the drought condition and farmers’ suicide. The Congress members staged a walkout protesting the Speaker’s decision.
Supporting the Congress motion, BJP members also walked out in protest. The Speaker adjourned the House till 10.30 am on Wednesday after the Finance Minister presented the supplementary budget.
Govt Agrees to Talks Today
Bhubaneswar: The State Government on Tuesday agreed to hold a discussion on the issue of farmers’ suicide on Wednesday. This was decided at the Business Advisory Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly Niranjan Pujari. A reluctant State government reportedly accepted the demand after Congress and BJP members staged a walkout in the Assembly opposing the decision of the Speaker not to allow a discussion on the politically-sensitive issue.