The Maharashtra Assembly was adjourned for the day on Wednesday after noisy scenes over the issue of tabling the Ram Pradhan report on the 26/11 terror strike. The India-Sri Lanka T20 cricket match, played here later in the evening, might also have a lot do with the adjournment, which came in the afternoon.
Legislators were ready with passes for the match, it is learnt, and issues of the cyclone-affected and the Ram Pradhan report took a back seat.
The morning session started with Revenue Minister Narayan Rane replying to the Opposition charge that the people affected by cyclone Phyan were ignored. He said the government had sought for them a Rs. 1,171-crore assistance from the Centre. The State already sent Rs. 100 crore towards assistance to farmers who lost their crops, and fishermen who lost their boats and nets.
The government agreed that the compensation of Rs 2. lakh for each of the families of the dead and the missing was not adequate, and would consider increasing it, he said.
The assistance of Rs. 15,000 a hectare for fruit crops would also be revised. All these decisions would be taken by weekend.
Crops on about 8.24 lakh hectares in 28 districts have been affected. The State has sanctioned Rs. 243 crore in aid so far. Twenty-eight people were killed and 34 are still missing.
The government has also waived the interest on loans for floriculture in the Konkan. However, the Opposition, dissatisfied with the Minister’s reply, shouted slogans and walked out.
Then came the Ram Pradhan report issue. Speaker Dilip Walse Patil denied leave for an adjournment motion moved by leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse, seeking suspension of question hour to discuss the report.
Shiv Sena group leader Subhash Desai said the government had to come clean on the Pradhan report. He said he had submitted a copy to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Tuesday.
Later, Mr. Khadse tabled an adjournment motion once again but with no assurance from the government on any discussion of the Pradhan report, there was commotion. The House was adjourned three times on this issue, and on the fourth occasion, it was adjourned for the day. The Legislative council was adjourned six times on the same issue.
Mr. Chavan made a statement in the Council, saying there was no connection between the leaked report and the original. He said no photocopy had been provided by the government to anyone. “I have handed over the report submitted by Mr. Desai to the Home Minister to verify it.”
Later Mr. Chavan had a meeting with senior Ministers and they discussed the Pradhan report issue with Mr. Khadse too who was called later.
After the meeting, Mr. Chavan told the Upper House that the contents of the two reports, the original and the one submitted by Mr. Desai, would be checked and a statement made on Monday. The Opposition objected to this as delaying tactics by the government.