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Debates, not disruption, marked Jharkhand house session

Opposition engages the Raghubar Das govt in debate, assembly passes 2 bills in 14 days

By Vijay Deo Jha in Ranchi
  • Published 9.02.19, 12:29 AM
  • Updated 9.02.19, 12:29 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Speaker Dinesh Oraon at the Assembly on the last day of the budget session on Friday. Picture by Prashant Mitra

The Opposition managed to pursue the state government to order two inquiries, one into a housing scheme and the other into illegal mining, in what all MLAs described was a fruitful budget session of the state Assembly that concluded on Friday.

This was the first time in the last two and a half years when the Opposition, instead of forcing adjournments, engaged the Raghubar Das government in debate. In 14 working days, the House also passed the Jharkhand State Scheduled Tribe Commission bill and the Transplantation of Human Organ Amendment bill.

Besides, the House was able to convince the government to recommend a CBI inquiry into a scam pertaining to the PM housing scheme at Kumardugi in West Singhbhum after Congress’s Jagannathpur MLA Geeta Koda raised this issue.

JMM’s Seraikela MLA Champai Soren gave a tough time to the government after he alleged illegal mining being conducted by a private firm that obtained a forged permission at Bana hill in Seraikela-Kharsawan. His submission forced the government to order an inquiry by the secretary of the mining department.

The Opposition was also able to secure a promise from the government to recommend to the Centre a separate Sarna religious code for tribals of Jharkhand. The demand was raised by Congress MLA Sukhdeo Bhagat.

“The session was historic not just because the House was able to conduct business smoothly, but also because Speaker Dinesh Oraon ordered an MLA (Dhullu Mahto) to be marshalled out for bad behaviour for the first time in 18 years. The Speaker also snubbed the government on the controversy over the sixth JPSC civil service examinations. He went to the extent of saying that it was better to shut down the House if issues of public welfare were not taken up,” said an Assembly official.

When the session began on January 17 with Governor Droupadi Murmu’s speech, Opposition parties held demonstrations in the House. But the Opposition chose to be restrained during the following days.

“This time we decided not to walk out of the House and make it easy for the government. Ensuring decorum during a session is the joint responsibility of the Treasury Bench and the Opposition. This remained a fruitful session,” said JMM MLA Stephen Marandi.

Addressing the House on Friday, the Speaker said: “This was one of the most fruitful sessions of the Assembly. Members participated in meaningful debates and we were able to take up several important matters related to public welfare. Formation of the ST Commission was an old demand and the bill was finally tabled. Many members offered useful suggestions to improve it. These were incorporated and the bill passed to safeguard interests of tribals.”

In all, members brought in 65 call attention motions and the government replied to 60 of them.

Three working days were set aside for the chief minister’s question hour where Raghubar Das answered as many as 29 questions posed by MLAs.

During Zero Hour, 304 submissions were accepted by the House. It received as many as 39 private resolutions.

In a House of 82 members, there were 1,065 questions for debate of which 947 were approved. The Assembly secretariat provided answers to 827 questions.

The most important private resolution was moved by BJP’s Radhakrishna Kishore on the concluding day. He demanded a ban on private practice by government doctors and alleged that despite reports of three committees, the government had not acted.

To this, health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi said the government would ban private practice by government doctors within six months.

The Speaker expressed his displeasure at some senior bureaucrats skipping the Assembly session. “I am of the opinion that such bureaucrats who have no respect for the House should offer their services to another state,” he said.