The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 25 , 2014
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CM promises Lokayukta with teeth
Lokpal on state agenda too, but after hearing from Centre

Ranchi, Feb. 24: Chief Minister Hemant Soren informed the Assembly today that his government would take appropriate action for executing the Lokpal bill, adding that the Lokayukta, already functioning in the state, would be strengthened further.

Replying to a question by MCC member Arup Chatterjee, Hemant argued that the Lokpal bill was meant for the Centre. In Jharkhand, his government would work towards strengthening the institution of Lokayukta, while also taking appropriate action to execute the Lokpal bill after receiving necessary directives from the Centre.

On the issue of compensating land owners of Bokaro, the chief minister said the state government was working towards restoring the old arrangement for such payments to be made through Bokaro Steel’s director, projects and land rehabilitation.

When JVM MLA Samresh Singh complained of undue interference from local district authorities complicating the issue, even though BSL had released grants in aid of Rs 17,500 crore for land acquisition, Hemant agreed.

“We are aware of it. We are carefully working on restoring the old arrangement,” he maintained.

The chief minister also promised to work out modalities for setting up a state administrative tribunal for disposal of pending disputes concerning staff and revise wages of para-teachers.

He, however, drew a blank when JMM MLA Vidyut Varan Mahto asked him whether the state government would extend financial assistance for the repair of old Indira Awas houses.

BJP MLAs demanded action against JVM legislature party leader Pradip Yadav for not being present in the House. This was, however, turned down by Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta, arguing there was no rule to do so.

Yadav had sought to know what action the state government was planning to take against former DGP G.S. Rath, whose role had come under a cloud in appointments of police sub-inspectors. But, when parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Pratap Singh got up to reply, Yadav wasn’t around.

Congress MLA Madhav Lal Singh alleged irregularities in JPSC results, but he, too, wasn’t present in the House. Subsequently, the government did not rely to these questions, angering the Opposition.

Replying to JMM MLA Jagannath Mahto, the government promised to work out modalities for setting up a ropeway at Madhuban in the next fiscal. Initially, tourism minister Suresh Paswan argued that it was not possible since his department had only Rs 25 crore under the plan head. But the Speaker took strong objection to this statement.

Paswan also agreed to develop Dhanbad’s Bhatinda falls, a tourist destination with potential, in the next fiscal.

Replying to another question by MLA Bandhu Tirkey, the state government approved the formation of an Assembly committee to oversee the inclusion of certain communities, overlooked due to clerical errors, in the list of backwards.