| BJP MLAs protest aganist the state government on various demands at the Assembly in Patna on Friday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
There was uproar in the Bihar Assembly on Friday when health minister Ramdhani Singh conceded the licence of a pharmaceutical company, Hanuman Agency, had been renewed on April 2.
The provocation — raids by the drug controller in 2010 had revealed that the firm was stocking up expired medicines and a case was lodged against it at the local police station in Pirbahore.
Again in June 2014, raids at three of its warehouses revealed stocking of expired medicine that were to be supplied to government hospitals.
The minister declared he would get the matter probed by the principal secretary, health. Singh was responding to a question by Vikram Kuer of the BJP.
The minister’s reply triggered a hue and cry in the BJP benches.
Kuer demanded a CBI probe, stating that Patna had become the centre for distribution of fake drugs and that from Patna, expired and fake drugs were being supplied to Delhi and even Nepal.
PTI quoted leader of the Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav, who, too, was supporting the demand for CBI enquiry, as saying: “This is a very serious issue as it concerns lives of poor people. The expired medicines recovered in raids are for government hospitals where poor people go for treatment.”
The BJP MLAs raised slogans in favour of a CBI probe.
Parliamentary affairs minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav suggested that a departmental probe should be allowed and, if needed, further probe will be ordered into. The speaker directed the minister to get the matter probed quickly.
Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh also joined the issue, asking who was the health minister when drug license of the agency concerned was renewed, reports PTI.
BJP legislators then raised the issue of slashing of stipends for students hailing from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) during zero our.
Intervening in the discussion, chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said the number of students claiming stipend has increased from 1.5 lakh to around 5 lakh in the past few years. If the state government was to give Rs 1 lakh per year to every applicant studying in technical colleges outside the state, it would require Rs 1,300 crore every year.
“But the Centre gives us only Rs 80 crore and it is matched by the state government. But Rs 160 crore was inadequate. We have raised our contribution to Rs 380 crore. But there is a racket by private engineering colleges outside to claim the student amount. Therefore, we have decided to keep the amount at par with the fees of government colleges,” the chief minister said. Not satisfied with his answer, BJP MLAs trooped into the well of the House and forced the Speaker to adjourn the House.
During question hour, finance minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav denied the state government had failed to utilise over Rs 793 crore given to it from 2010 for development of Maoist-hit districts in the state. The minister claimed that over Rs 44 crore of the fund for states affected by rebels had already been utilised.
Health minister Ramdhani Singh said the Medical Council of India (MCI) had given permission to all medical colleges of Bihar to continue their courses. He said MCI had raised 17 objections but the department had given an undertaking it would try to meet MCI’s conditions soon.