Exclusive

BJP, Congress, disrupt Odisha Assembly, demand withdrawal of token system in paddy procurement

Bhubaneswar, Nov 22 (UNI) Opposition BJP and Congress today disrupted the proceedings of the Odisha Assembly during zero hour demanding a statement from Food Supply and Consumer Affairs minister on the centralized token system for paddy procurement in the state.

The members of both BJP and Congress trooped into the well of the house in support of their demand and forced Speaker S N Patro to adjourn the house thrice for a period of minutes.
The Speaker had to convene an all party meeting to resolve the issue and later ruled that the minister will make a statement in the house to which the minister also readily agreed and announced to make a statement on Monday next.

The opposition members took strong exception to the announcement made by government Deputy Chief Whip Rohit Pujari and Rural Development Minister Suhsant Singh before the agitating farmers at Sambalpur and Baragarh yesterday.

Both  Pujari and  Singh had assured the farmers that paddy would be procured from the farmers irrespective of whether they have received the token or not.
They also assured the farmers that the government would purchase all paddy from them. The farmers who are on strike for the last two days demanding withdrawal of token system for paddy procurement finally called off their agitation.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik wanted to know in which capacity the two BJD leaders had gone there and who has authorized them to make the announcement.

He asked since the house is in session how could the announcement be made without taking the house into confidence while the Food supply and Consumer Welfare Minister R P Swain in his reply said during the demand for grants for the department and while replying to a debate on an adjournment had stated that the centralized token system would not be withdrawn.

Naik also wanted to know whether the announcement made by  Singh and Pujari would be applicable to only the farmers of Baragarh and Sambalpur or it would cover the farmers of Kalahandi and Bolangir also.

He was supported by his party colleagues. Both of them demanded the Speaker to make a statement in the house on the issue.

Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra supported the BJP leaders and wanted to know whether the government changed its policy after the Minister categorically refused to concede to the opposition demand and withdraw the centralized token system.

Even it was done why the house was not informed. Stating it as a breach of privilege,  Mishra urged the Speaker to ask the Minister to make a statement in the house.
The members trooped into the well after the Speaker did not give any ruling and proceeded with the business of the house.

As the house plunged into a chaotic situation, the Speaker adjourned the house first at 1214 till 1224 and called an all party meeting. The house was subsequently adjourned twice for ten and five minutes.
After the house reassembled the Speaker directed the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister to make a statement on the issue.

The matter was subsided and the debate on discussion on supplementary demand grants for Home and General Administration department started after the Minister said he would submit a detail report in the house on Monday.