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Government establishing a new normal: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

The Lok Sabha in session on August 4, 2021. Photo: LSTV via PTI  

As the Lok Sabha on August 4 once again passed two Bills without a debate and amid Opposition sloganeering over the Pegasus spyware snooping scandal and the farm laws, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused the government of establishing a “new normal” with regard to passage of Bills.

The two Bills that were passed with a voice vote include the Commission for the Management of Air Quality in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 and the Coconut Development Board Amendment Bill, 2021.

 

Moving the Commission for the Management of Air Quality in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 for consideration and passing, Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav said it would provide a holistic framework for the management of air quality in Delhi as pollution in the city was affected by activities in its adjoining areas.

“Not just environmental experts but also representatives of states from the adjoining areas of Delhi will be included in the Commission,” he said.

The Commission for Air Quality Management for the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 was first cleared as an Ordinance in October 2020 but lapsed before it could get tabled as farmers’ groups protested against penal provisions and heavy fines of up to ₹1 crore as a punishment for stubble burning.

 

Talks with farmers’ groups ensured a tweaking of the Bill wherein farmers were exempted from penal provisions but were held liable for paying environmental compensation for causing pollution due to stubble burning, and a fresh Ordinance was issued in April, 2021.

While amendments were moved by Opposition MPs Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress and the Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N.K. Premachandran, these were defeated and the Bill was passed. All this took place amid loud protests by Opposition members and repeated appeals by both Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, and Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Meerut-Hapur Rajendra Agarwal, who was chairing part of the proceedings.

Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., the House was adjourned thrice before the Bill on air quality was passed, and then got adjourned again until 3.30 p.m.

When the House reassembled, Mr. Agrawal, who was presiding, asked Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to move the Coconut Development Board Amendment Bill —– aiming to make changes in the appointment procedure of the Board — for passage.

When Mr. Chowdhury objected to the passing of Bills in the din and called it a “new normal”, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal hit back and accused the Opposition of stalling Parliament. Mr. Meghwal said the government was ready to debate important issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Opposition was obstructing it.


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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 10:32:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-establishing-a-new-normal-chowdhury/article35729543.ece

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