The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chaos after probe demand spiked

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 14: The Opposition today walked put of the Assembly, as the Orissa government rejected its demand for a CBI probe into the alleged multi-crore scam in the World Bank-funded Orissa Health System Development Project.

While the government stuck to its decision of a state probe, the Opposition alleged that the probe would not be “impartial”.

Earlier in the morning, Opposition members had stalled Assembly proceedings during the question hour and stormed the Well demanding a CBI inquiry and detailed discussion on the matter.

Speaker Maheswar Mohanty had to adjourn the House twice for a total 45 minutes as he found it difficult to run the House amid pandemonium.

Later, moving an adjournment motion on the Rs 300-crore OSHDP scam, the Opposition said the detailed implementation report of the World Bank had revealed that two government undertakings, Orissa Construction Corporation and Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, had furnished false completion certificates, indicating corruption and fraud.

“Chief minister Naveen Patnaik owes the responsibility, as the Orissa Construction Corporation was directly under his control,” said deputy leader of Opposition, Narasingha Mishra. Questioning the chief minister’s integrity, the senior Congress leader said the government had referred the matter to the vigilance department only after the World Bank report was published in the media.

Elephant effect

The public outcry over the increasing man-animal conflict echoed in the Assembly today when as many as 23 MLAs, cutting across party lines, voiced their concern over the increasing instances of attack.

Sensing the concern of the House, Speaker Maheswar Mohanty directed the forest and revenue departments to take joint actions in this regard and place a report.

The issue cropped up for discussion during the zero hour through a special mention and a series of points of order.

Making a special mention, ruling BJP member Bibhuti Bhusan Harichandan claimed that elephant attacks had damaged standing crops in 40 villages in the Chilika area alone and he demanded adequate compensation.

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