Maha: Monsoon session starts tomorrow

The monsoon session of Maha Legislature begins tomorrow, in the backdrop of the massive blaze that gutted top floors of secretariat.

Mumbai: The monsoon session of Maharashtra Legislature begins here tomorrow, in the backdrop of the massive blaze that gutted top floors of the state secretariat and the CBI charge sheet against former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh housing scam.

The spate of female foeticides, acute water shortage in 15 districts in the state, alleged irregularities in irrigation projects, farmers` suicides and superseding of the Belgaum Municipal Corporation are some of the issues likely to dominate the three-week session.

Deficient rainfall has taken a toll on the sowing of kharif crops in the state. This, coupled with reports that there is only nine per cent water supply in state reservoirs has given the opposition ample ammunition to attack the Congress-NCP government.

The Raj Thackeray-led MNS has claimed that the figures about toll collection available with the state government were "bogus" and party workers kept a watch on the toll booths to gauge the exact figures.

The issue would be highlighted by MNS legislators, party group leader in the Assembly, Bala Nandgaonkar said. "Our activists have collected factual information about how many vehicles pass through these toll booths," he said.

By-elections to 11 seats of Maharashtra Legislative Council would be held on July 25. Voting for the July 19 presidential poll would also be held during the session.

A major fallout of the blaze which engulfed Mantralaya is that the loss of important files in the fire has meant that several affected ministers will find it inconvenient, if not altogether impossible, to be briefed by bureaucrats in detail on issues to be raised in the state legislature.

The offices of Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who holds urban development and housing portfolio, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, in-charge of finance and power, and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat were among those damaged in the fire.

The BJP is planning to target Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare for his alleged involvement in a land scam and has demanded a court-monitored probe.

BJP has alleged that the scam, involving acquisition of large tracts of land by the senior NCP leader`s family and associates, was to the tune of over Rs 25,000 crore wherein black money was parked through 1,000 odd companies.

The Chief Minister`s announcement about coming out with a white paper on irrigation projects undertaken by the state in the last ten years has irked NCP, which holds the water resources portfolio.

The state economic survey cites that the irrigation potential has grown by only 0.1 per cent in last four years, while the total irrigation potential is 18 per cent.

Among the legislations due for passage is the `Black Magic and Evil and Aghori Practices Bill` against superstition. Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti has asked the state government "to show courage" in passing the Bill, which was first tabled before the state legislature in 1998, in this session.

The Upper House will see an interesting combination of a father-son duo. NCP leader Vasant Davkhare is Deputy Chairman of the House while his son Niranjan won the recent Konkan Graduate`s constituency election to enter the Council.


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