Opposition parties stage walkout, ruckus in J&K Assembly

Lashing out at J&K govt for its failure to empower Panchayats with 73rd amendment, Opposition parties on Monday staged a walkout from Assembly.

Updated: Mar 18, 2013, 15:36 PM IST

Jammu: Lashing out at the Jammu and Kashmir government for its failure to empower Panchayats with 73rd amendment and for discriminating with Jammu region in providing model villages, Opposition parties on Monday triggered ruckus and staged a walkout from the Legislative Assembly.

During the Question Hour in the Assembly, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) members Jugal Kishore Sharma and Ashok Khajuria raised the issues of security and empowerment of Panchayats by incorporating 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution in the state and questioned state government`s failure in implementing it.

Unsatisfied by the reply of Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ali Mohammad Sagar, the BJP members held protests and later staged a walkout from the House.

"We have raised the issue of incorporation of 73rd amendment of Panchayati Raj Act in the state in order to empower the panchayats in decision making and financial matters-- but the government has failed to empower them till now", Jugal told reporters outside Assembly.

While the Panchayats are fully empowered in rest of the country with financial and decision making powers and they are directly funded by the Centre, however, J&K Panchayats have been deprived of such facilities, Jugal said.

"The government has ignored our demand for reply on the issue of empowerment of panchayats as they are not keen to empower this institution", he said adding "they have not also been provided security as they become targets of the militants".

Maharashtra government to invoke MCOCA against sand mafia
Mumbai, Mar 18 (PTI) The stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), commonly used against the gangsters and terrorists, would be invoked against those involved in illegal sand-mining, government said today.

Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat stated in the Legislative Council here that "government is concerned over illegal sand dredging and a stringent law such as MCOCA will be invoked wherever necessary".

The minister was replying to a query by Hemant Takle (NCP) and others during the question hour.

Earlier, Deputy Chairman of Council Vasant Davkhare also said that sand dredging was a lucrative business and "an organised crime", and the culprits should be booked under MCOCA.

Thorat admitted that there had been incidents where sand mafia attacked the government officers.

"The revenue department and the home department will work out a solution to this problem," he added.

But Leader of Opposition Vinod Tawde (BJP) and many Shiv Sena and BJP members were not happy with the minister`s reply, and demanded concrete steps.