Lucknow: Opposition BSP on Tuesday created noisy scenes in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly over alleged "massive irregularities" in the procurement of wheat in the state and walked out expressing dissatisfaction of the government`s response to the matter.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Indrajit Saroj (BSP) alleged that irregularities were rampant at wheat purchase centres in the state and demanded admission of their adjournment notice in this regard.
He said that against the target of 42 lakh metric tonnes of wheat purchase, only 32 metric tonnes have been bought so far. "Middlemen have become rich while poor farmers are being made to set their harvest on fire," he said.
Leader of the Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya claimed that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was aware of the irregularities as he and his ministers undertook surprise inspections at some purchase centres.
Rejecting their charges, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan alleged that middlemen were ruling the roost during the previous government.
Stressing that the SP government was committed to improving the lot of farmers, Khan said the chief minister braved the heat of May-June months to inspect the purchase centres "rather than inspecting stone memorials (a reference to former chief minister Mayawati)."
Maurya said his party had expected the minister to take note of the serious problem of the farmers but rued that he has instead talked about elephant - BSP`s party symbol.
The BSP members later staged a walkout.
Earlier during Question Hour, Congress members raised the issue of petrol price hike and demanded that the state government should reduce VAT on petrol.
Mukesh Srivastava and Pramod Tewari (both Cong) cited examples of some neighbouring states which have reduced VAT on petrol and sought to know whether the UP government would follow suit.
When Minister of State for Planning Farid Mehfooz Kidwai refused to entertain their demand saying VAT rates in UP were lower than neighbouring Uttarakhand and rates are decided as limited resources in a logical manner, the Congress members staged a walked out.