Opposition stalls Odisha Assembly, demand Patro`s resignation
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly could conduct business for only 11 minutes on Friday and was adjourned till Monday due to noisy protests by Congress MLAs demanding resignation of state revenue and disaster management minister SN Patro for allegedly misleading the House.
The Congress members have been demanding Patro`s resignation since yesterday accusing him of misleading the House by claiming that the Centre gave only Rs 250 crore for relief and rehabilitation of cyclone Phailin and flood victims against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s announcement of Rs 1,000 crore as advance.
Though Patro corrected himself and informed the House in the afternoon session yesterday that the state had so far received Rs 750 crore from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), Opposition targeted him for misleading the House.
"My office had not received any information regarding receipt of Rs 750 crore from the NDRF, though Centre released the amount. My earlier statement may be corrected," Patro had said.
However, the Opposition refused to accept his clarification and blamed him and the BJD government for launching a campaign against the Centre over Phailin assistance.
As soon as the House assembled today, Opposition MLAs rushed to the Well shouting slogans, displaying banners castigating the state government for keeping the House as well as public in dark about the Central assistance and demanding Patro`s resignation.
The House was adjourned soon, but witnessed similar scenes when it reassembled at 3 PM, forcing the Speaker to adjourn it till Monday.
Thereafter, agitating Congress members staged a dharna before the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the Assembly premises.
"This is not the first time that Patro told lies in the House. On March 24, 2011, he had given a similar statement by hiding the amount released by the Centre following a severe flood that year," alleged Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh.
Dubbing the BJD government as a "habitual liar", Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan wondered "How come the minister on December 12 did not know when Rs 750 crore was already deposited in the government`s account by December 3?"
Rejecting BJD`s claim that the Centre neglected Odisha even during calamities, Harichandan said when the state government had demanded Rs 500 crore for the floods in 2011, the UPA government released Rs 550 crore.
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