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Ruckus in Arunachal House

- Glare on lacunae in implementation of rural electrification scheme

Itanagar, July 30: A heated debate in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly over alleged financial irregularities in implementing a central scheme today turned ugly with members raising their voices, not sparing even the Speaker.

The fourth day of the budget session witnessed discussions on a wide array of issues, ranging from alleged delay in payment of general provident fund to state government employees to dearth of specialists in Tirap district hospital.

However, it was the last discussion during question hour that hogged the limelight.

A heated debate ensued when BJP’s first-time MLA Tumke Bagra raised a question about alleged lacunae in the implementation of Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) under Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) in 2008.

Bagra’s question brought to light the fact that expenditures of the RGGVY scheme were not made through the state exchequer and that a relating office memorandum was issued without the approval of the finance department. Incidentally, Bagra was a secretary in the state power department at that time — a fact that home and power minister Tanga Byaling repeatedly reminded him.

Answering Bagra’s question, Byaling said it was Bagra himself who had issued the approval and authorisation to sign a bipartite agreement between the REC and the state government.

Although the minister said that Bagra had expressed reservations that the office memorandum lacked clarity, Byalinga’s answer was replete with references to Bagra as “the then secretary (power)”.

The events quickly spiralled out of control with Bagra angrily interjecting Byaling and the minister telling him not to.

As Deputy Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok asked Byaling to keep his answers short, the minister snapped back asking Thongdok to wait until he finished answering.

As the MLAs laughed at what was unfolding in front of them, instead of reprimanding the minister, Thongdok laughed with them.

The heated exchange came to an end with Bagra seeking a CBI inquiry into the matter.

The debate was followed by a discussion on euthanasia.

Passang Sona, an MLA of the People’s Party of Arunachal from Mechukha, said he was initiating the discussion because the Supreme Court had recently called for a debate on the issue in Parliament and Assemblies.

The House passed two bills — the Arunachal Pradesh Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Bill 2014 and the Arunachal Pradesh State Housing Board Bill 2014 — by voice vote today.

While no changes were made to the Housing Board Bill, the other bill underwent a thorough scrutiny and was passed after it was agreed that amendments would be made later.


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