Bhubaneswar: Odisha Legislative Assembly(OLA) for the third consecutive day of the budget session on Saturday faced stalemate as the opposition BJP and the Congress Members created a ruckus in the House over alleged irregularities in the process of paddy procurement by the State Government.
As soon as the OLA assembled for the Question Hour, the Opposition Members rushed to the Well of the House, demanding an announcement from the State Government that all paddy bags would be procured from farmers in the next seven days.
Saffron Lawmakers shouted slogans against the State Government, while a section of Congress Legislators led by party Chief Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati attempted to climb the Speaker’s podium.
Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro requested the Members to return to their seats and participate in the proceedings.
Amid the agitation by the opposition legislators, the Speaker allowed Food Supplies, Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister R P Swain to make a statement on the procurement of paddy.
Minister Mr.Swain informed the House that the government will procure paddy till March 31, 2021.
He also said 55.03 lakh MT of paddy has so far been procured, up by 21 per cent from 45.61 lakh MT lifted last year.
The House, in fact experienced pandemonium when Leader of Opposition Pradip K Naik, known for polite nature in Odisha’s political circle, tore up a reply copy submitted by Food Supplies, Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister and throw the same onto the Speaker’s podium.
The entire House including his own party members, was stunned over the incident and demanded State Government’s assurance to the House on immediate lifting of paddy bags from mandis.
The opposition Members continued to agitate despite the Minister’s announcement that the State Government will receive paddy from farmers till 31 March.
As Speaker’s request to Members seeking their cooperation failed to yield any result, he adjourned the House twice, first during the pre-lunch session, and finally from 11.30 am to 4 pm. When the House reassembled for the post-lunch session, similar pandemonium prevailed.
The BJP Members expressed their displeasure over the Minister’s statement and sought a discussion through a motion in the House.
Opposition Chief whip Mohan Majhi said, “We had demanded suspension of all businesses in the House and a discussion on the farmers’ issues. The State Government is not ready for it.”
Congress Chief Whip Mr.Bahinipati said the Speaker has not accepted their notice for a discussion on the paddy procurement issues.
Mr.Bahinipati requested the Speaker with folded hands to ensure smooth procurement of paddy at Mandis across the state. He also demanded for an adjournment motion to debate on the issue.
In reaction, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro said, “The Minister concerned today submitted his reply on the matter. Let’s wait for seven days, after which he will be summoned to present the facts.”
As pandemonium continued, the Speaker also convened for an All Party meeting.