Special Correspondent

Opposition firm on debate

BHUBANESWAR: The stalemate over the opposition demand for a discussion on the Hirakud reservoir water continued with the State Assembly witnessing uproarious scenes for the sixth day on Tuesday.

The proceedings were adjourned thrice during the day before it was adjourned till Wednesday.

The Opposition legislators continued to press their demand for a discussion on their motion in which they sought a special discussion on the issue of lathi-charge on farmers and a voting on the question whether water of Hirakud was meant for farmers or industries.

They raised slogans against the government and displayed banners and posters seeking a discussion on their motion.

The legislators belonging to the ruling parties, however, made an attempt to counter the opposition attack by displaying a letter from Ajay Maken, Union Minister and Orissa in-charge of the Congress, in which he congratulated the Congress Legislature Party for taking a tough stand in favour of the farmers on the Hirakud dam issue.

Showing the letter, senior Biju Janata Dal legislator Kalpataru Das and other members brought privilege notice against Mr. Maken for breach of privilege.

Mr. Maken said in the letter that the party should continue to stick to its stand on its motion till a decision on any change in this stand is taken at the party’s extended executive body meeting slated to take place on December 2.

The Opposition was also prompt in bringing a privilege motion against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the charge that he made an announcement about repair of Hirakud canals at a meeting with some farmers on Monday when the issue of farmers’ agitation was pending in the Assembly.

Mr. Patnaik, however, told presspersons outside the House that the decision about repair of Hirakud canals had been taken 12 days before the beginning the Assembly session.

Leader of Opposition J.B. Patnaik told reporters that the opposition would stick to its demand for a voting on Hirakud water issue.

“Why is the government developing a cold feet for voting on the issue when it has a majority in the House,” he queried.