New Delhi: Fireworks were witnessed on Thursday at a Meeting of a Parliamentary Committee on land with Opposition members slamming the government over "absence" of its officers and terming it as an "insult" to the Panel.
Sources say that it was NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who began the attack on the government in the meeting after none of the four Secretaries, who were supposed to appear before it, could not make it.
The Committee on July 6 had decided to summon secretaries of concerned ministries on July 16 to listen to their views of the amendments to the 2013 Act. The members had decided that if the government was able to reply to their queries on July 16, the panel could take up clause-by-clause consideration of the bill from July 22.
The secretaries from Legal Affairs, Legislative Department, Rural Development and Commerce Ministries, and top officials from Railways were expected to appear before the panel. It was learnt that Amitabh Kanth, Secretary DIPP was abroad while other secretary was attending some meeting.
"We had sought the response from various government departments to the complaints and grievances made by various individuals and organisations, which appeared before the panel. But no official turned up.
"It seems this government is shy of facing not only Parliament but even the Parliament panel. It looks officers have no clear brief. Hence they are not turning up," an Opposition member in the panel said on the condition of anonymity.
Soon after the meeting was over, Derek O'Brien a member
In the panel from Trinamool Congress tweeted, "Mockery or meeting? Last time Parliamentary committee on Land Bill didn't function because MPs turned up, govt officials did not. Repeated today?"
Sources said that some of the BJP members also expressed their unhappiness over officials not turning up.
"Members from all parties strongly objected to it. They felt it was an insult to the committee," a member said.
Incidentally, the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee also coincided with a meeting of Union Cabinet. There was another meeting of Parliamentary affairs in which a number of Secretaries were present.