Orissa budget session off to a stormy start

Monday, February 14, 2011

BHUBANESWAR - The budget session of the Orissa assembly began on a stormy note here Monday with opposition members raising anti-government slogans for alleged irregularities in purchase of pulses for the mid-day meal scheme in schools and nutrition programme for women.

Opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members created ruckus minutes after Governor M.C. Bhandare began the customary address to the legislatures on the opening day of the budget session.

While the Congress members staged a walked out, the members of BJP remained in the house during the address and raised slogans and made parallel speeches, causing uproar.

The BJP members also displayed packets of contaminated ‘dal’ (pulses) they collected from various places of the state.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik later described as “unfortunate” the behaviour of the opposition members.

The opposition behaviour in the house today is unfortunate. The government is ready to have discussions on all important matters and they should cooperate, he told reporters.

Patnaik also reiterated that his government will not spare those who supplied low quality pulses to the children and women in the state.

Criminal action will be taken against the guilty, he said.

While the BJP held a massive rally Monday at the district headquarters of Bhadrak against the government’s failure to check sale of contaminated pulses, the Congress said it will stage a protest at state capital Bhubaneswar Thursday.

The alleged scam came to light after the vigilance department last month claimed that there were irregularities in the purchase of pulses for the mid-day meal scheme and the supplementary nutrition programmes meant for children and women in the state.

Orissa’s Woman and Child Development Minister Pramila Mallik resigned Feb 5 and at least three senior government officers face action over the scandal.

The government has also ordered criminal proceedings against those who supplied the low quality pulses.

The opposition has been targeting the government over not only the latest pulses scam but also over several other issues, including the coal scam, mining scam, deteriorating law and order situation and the Maoist violence.

The budget session is being held in two phases Feb 14-24 and from March 11 to April 8.

Filed under: Politics

will not be displayed