Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 6:
The budget session of the Odisha Assembly began this morning with a walkout by the Opposition Congress and BJP members.
As soon as Governor SC Jamir started delivering his welcome address, leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra stood up and began a parallel speech.
Mishra along with Congress members staged a walkout as soon as the Governor finished his speech while BJP members did not even wait that long and left the House even as Jamir’s address continued.
Though Mishra’s speech was mostly inaudible, he raised objections on the achievements of the state government highlighted by the Governor in his address.
Earlier, Jamir was given a guard of honour on his arrival at the Assembly to address the opening day of the crucial session.
At the beginning of his address, Jamir paid tributes to former Governor of the state Rameshwar Thakur, several former members of the Assembly and jawans who passed away in the recent past.
In his address, the Governor said the state has made appreciable progress in achieving economic growth and poverty alleviation.
“The state has recorded a 6.84 percent economic growth rate per annum in the last two years during which the state has recorded a poverty reduction of 24.67 percent,” he pointed out.
Underlining the importance of proper management of the forthcoming Nabakalebara festival of Lord Jagannath Jamir said drinking water, sanitation and arrangements for provision of uninterrupted power supply were the areas of utmost importance.
Claiming that Left Wing Extremism (LWE) has substantially come down in the state, Jamir stressed expansion of developmental works in remote areas of the state.
Skill improvement of SOG and Special Intelligence Wing, doubling of DVF strength and creation of four special battalions for security are being planned. Jamir said in his address.
Later, chief minister Naveen Patnaik moved a condolence motion on former governor of Odisha Rameshwar Thakur, former minister Bhupal Chandra Mohapatra, former MLA Tarini Charan Patnaik and Padmalochan Majhi, a jawan of 23rd Battalion of CRPF.
Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra and BJP legislature party leader Basant Panda, who had walked out, returned to the House after the Governor’s address was over and took part in the condolence motions.
The session is likely to be stormy as opposition Congress and BJP are expected to raise various issues such as the distress sale of paddy, chit fund scam, land scam, mining scam and law and order situation to corner the BJD government headed by the chief minister.
This budget session will have 30 working days and would be held in two phases.
While the first phase will be held from February 6 to 21, the second phase is scheduled to be held from March 10 till the conclusion of the session on April 4.
The budget for 2015-16 will be presented by Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat in the Assembly on February 16. The Appropriation Bill will be placed in the House on March 31.
More than 30 platoons of police and two units of the Special Operations Group have been deployed at strategic points laeding to the Assemblyy.
Tight security arrangements have been made in and around the Assembly building to prevent any untoward incident during the session.
Security had been strengthened after the Bhubaneswar police received an anonymous letter on Thursday. The postcard letter threatened to blow up the Assembly building, chief minister’s residence and the state BJP headquarters office in the capital city.