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Below par monsoon heat in House

- Legislators demand debate on drought situation in state

Patna, July 15: Truant rain triggered a heated debate in the Assembly today, prompting its adjournment.

A call attention of Janak Singh of the BJP on the alleged irregularities in the distribution of diesel subsidy from 2010 had legislators cutting across the party lines on their feet demanding that the government should take a serious note of the drought-like situation in the state. In the past few years, the state government had announced a subsidy of Rs 10 on each litre of diesel farmers purchased for irrigating their crops in the absence of rain in the monsoon.

“The government should note that a drought-like situation prevails in the state and the farmers are struggling to save their crops. There should be a debate on this issue,” said the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav.

The water resources minister, Vijay Kumar Choudhary, reminded Nand Kishore that it was agreed in the meeting of the business advisory committee that the government would wait for a few more days before taking a call on the drought situation in the state.

Dissatisfied with Choudhary’s reply, the BJP MLAs trouped into the well raising slogans against the government, compelling the Speaker, Uday Narayan Chaudhary to adjourn the House before the scheduled time.

Earlier, art, culture and sports minister Vinay Bihari conceded that the state had a poor infrastructure for sports. In response to a question of Poonam Devi Yadav, he said: “We have sports officers in only 15 of the 38 districts. Our sports training institute is closed for the past eight years.” He promised to hold a meeting on the issue after the budget session of the House was over.

Nand Kishore, the Leader of the Opposition, asked what plans the minister had to upgrade the sports facilities in Bihar and if the government proposed to give incentives to sportspersons. “The former chief minister had announced that the government would announce a sports policy. Why has it not been announced so far?” Nand Kishore asked.

The speaker intervened in the meantime and said the minister would give a detailed written answer to the House.

The Opposition also grilled education minister Brishen Patel again for the government’s failure to make textbooks available to the students of the state-run schools. BJP MLA Achudanand asked if Bihar State Textbook Publication Corporation Limited would be revived.

The corporation used to publish school textbooks. It has been defunct for the past one decade because its machines had become outdated. The BJP MLA pointed out that despite having its own press the state government was getting its books printed every year from outside.

The education minister, Patel, said there was no proposal to revive the corporation. He, however, iterated that the books would be distributed to the students by July 31.

The Assembly also passed the rural development department budget of over Rs 2,247 crore.

In the Bihar Legislative Council, BJP raised the issue of medicine scam. Speaking to reporters, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi alleged that persons close to former chief minister Nitish Kumar were at the helm of affairs in the Bihar Medical Infrastructure Development Corporation during the scam. He alleged that recent raids revealed that medicines meant for government hospitals were sold in the market. He said substandard medicines were purchased from blacklisted companies at exorbitant prices and reiterated his demand for a CBI probe into the alleged scam.


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