Odisha government wants legislative council in state

 The Odisha government Friday initiated the process for setting up a legislative council in the state.

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government Friday initiated the process for setting up a legislative council in the state.

State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Arukh Friday held a preliminary meeting to discuss the modalities for establishing the council.

It was decided to form a five-member committee, which will visit the states already having legislative councils and examine the council`s various functions and procedures.

"We will set up a five-member committee and it would visit some states to examine the function and procedures to set up the council in the state. The committee will submit a report to the state government," Arukh told reporters here.

It is expected that the committee, comprising members of the Odisha assembly, would submit the report within a month.

Arukh said the Odisha government took the decision to establish the council following a demand from various sections of society.

Presently, seven states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh -- have councils while the union cabinet cleared a proposal from Assam to form a legislative council in 2013.

If the Odisha government accepts the report of the committee for establishing the council, the proposal will be tabled in the state assembly before being sent to the union government and the President for approval, the minister said.

The legislative council will have about 49 members, said sources.

The opposition BJP and Congress parties view the step as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders` rehabilitation in the council and thus they have opposed the government`s move.

Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said while there was no need for a council in the state, the Odisha government wants to rehabilitate the BJD leaders in the council.

Odisha Congress president Prasad Harichandan also opposed the idea of forming a council.

The BJD is expected to pass the legislation in the state assembly as it enjoys an impressive majority.

While two-third members of the assembly are required to favour the formation of the legislative council, the ruling party has 117 members in the 147-member Odisha assembly.

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