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Odisha Speaker bows to Opp demand, convenes all-party meet on IDCO

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 16:

Bowing to the pressure of the Opposition Congress members demanding a discussion on the irregularities of the Industrial Development Corporation of Odisha (IDCO) in the allotment of land to private companies, Odisha Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari today convened an all-party meeting for discussion on the issue.

Congress members protesting in the Assembly over the IDCO issue (Pix: Biswaranjan Mishra)
Congress members protesting in the Assembly over the IDCO issue
(Pix: Biswaranjan Mishra)

The directive of the Speaker came after he was forced to adjourn the House thrice as the irate Congress members disrupted proceedings while demanding a discussion on the issue.

As soon as the session began, the irate Congress members rushed to the well of the House demanding a discussion. They asked the Speaker about the reason for disallowing the discussion which had been scheduled earlier and a copy of it displayed in the board.

After the Speaker ignored their demands, Congress members shouted anti-government slogans and disrupted House proceedings. Unable to run the House, the Speaker adjourned the Assembly for one hour till 11.30 AM.

The Speaker again adjourned till 12.30 PM and 3 PM as the stalemate continued to prevail in the House.

However, he later announced an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.

Alleging that the government was afraid of a discussion on the land scam, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said government land was misutilised by industries and other influential persons.

BJP legislature party leader Basant Panda said the state government stands to be exposed if a discussion is held on the subject. “The Speaker should give opportunity to the Opposition for a discussion,” he added.

“We are not afraid of a discussion. I will give a proper reply to the allegations made by the Opposition. It is up to the Speaker to allow or disallow a debate,” industries minister Debi Prasad Mishra said.

It may be mentioned here that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report, that was tabled in the ongoing session of the State Assembly, had criticised IDCO for issuing ‘No Objection Certificates’ (NOC) to several industries enabling them to raise more than Rs 52,000 crore in the form of loans from financial institutions by mortgaging the land allotted to them for their projects.

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(Also see Idco land scam: The good, the bad & the ugly’ by Aditya Dash in our Blog page)