Odisha Assembly again crippled over hooch tragedy

Bhubaneswar: For the second consecutive day on Tuesday the opposition Congress and BJP MLAs staged noisy protests in the well of the Assembly protesting the Speaker's refusal to allow a discussion on the recent hooch tragedy which claimed 40 lives in the state.

While opposition members continued their demand for a debate on the hooch tragedy, Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat again rejected their plea saying he was unable to allow discussion as a judicial enquiry was being conducted into the matter.

The House was adjourned for the day as the opposition continued their stir in the well shouting slogans.

"I have already given a ruling that the issue cannot be debated in the House as the matter is under the purview of the Judicial Commission's enquiry," Amat said.

The issue was raised by Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress as soon as the House assembled for the day.

"The government is afraid of holding a discussion on the matter. This BJD government is responsible for the death of 40 people," he alleged.

As deputy speaker Sananda Marandi allowed the ministers to give reply of certain questions, the entire opposition rushed to the well shouting anti-government slogans and displayed placards.

"The Chief Minister is responsible for the hooch tragedy," said one of the placards being displayed by the opposition members.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was present in the House, however, did not react to the opposition shouting.

BJP backed Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi climbed on the reporters desk and delivered speech "blaming the government for the death of 40 persons." BJP members were also on their feet when Congress MLAs shouted in the well.

The House was adjourned twice during the pre-lunch session.

"As the Speaker rejected yesterday's notice, we have submitted another notice with different title. But, the fresh notice had also been turned down by the Speaker," Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan said.