Congress and BJP refuse to be part of the House committee formed for Sindol project

August 29, 2011 at 7:47 am Leave a comment

Following report is from the Pioneer:

Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat’s efforts to end the stalemate over the controversial Sindhol Hydro-Power Project issue has run into rough weather with the opposition Congress and the BJP refusing to be part of the House committee formed on a motion tabled by the State Government to conduct public hearing on the proposed project.

The hardening stance of opposition parties has put the Government in a quandary. The Government has no other way but to announce the vexed project be dropped once for all as the ruling party could ill afford to lock its horns with the people prior to the politically significant elections to the three-tier Panchayati Raj bodies.

Under the circumstances, the House committee would become redundant. It is unlikely that the House panel would dare to visit the area without participation of the opposition members. Earlier during discussion on the Sindhol project in the form of an adjournment motion on August 22, the Speaker, realising the sense of the House, had directed the Government chief whip to constitute a House committee on the issue to conduct public hearing and examine the pros and cons of the proposed project. He had also asked the Government to refrain from taking any step for the setting up of the project till the House committee submitted its report.

Accordingly, Government chief whip Rabi Narayan Pani, before the adjournment of the monsoon session of the House on Saturday, had moved a motion on the formation of a nine-member House committee with Speaker PK Amat as chairman.

Besides the three MLAs belonging to the concerned parties, all other members were from the western Odisha region cutting across party lines. The members of the panel included- leader of Oppostioin Bhupinder Singh, Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister Niranjan Pujari, Padmanav Behera and Bhagaban Kahanra from the ruling BJD, Santosh Singh Saluja from Congress and Jayanarayan Mishra from BJP.

Though the motion was adopted by voice vote, the opposition Congress and BJP members had opposed the committee and announced their intention not to be part of it.

Leader of the Opposition Singh and BJP member Jayanarayan Mishra categorically stated that since there was unanimity in the House against the setting up of the Sindhol project during discussion on the adjournment motion, “It is needless to constitute an Assembly committee to conduct public hearing. This is nothing but a dilatory tactics,” they said.

“The MLAs belonging to the proposed project area, who are also ruling party members, had already voiced concern of the people now on agitation and opposed it tooth and nail. They had even warned against any misadventure which might prove costly for the Government.” Singh and Mishra had demanded the Government to announce dropping of the project instantly respecting the opinion of the people and the elected representatives. Singh said the Congress Legislative Party had decided that no member from the party would be member of the committee.

Following is one more report from the Telegraph:

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: Opposition parties in Orissa Assembly today outwitted Biju Janata Dal by refusing to be part of a House Committee that would look into the proposed controversial Sindol hydropower project in western Orissa.

Congress and BJP today made it clear that there was no need to constitute a House Committee as public opinion was clearly against the hydropower project. On the concluding day of the monsoon session on Saturday, it was decided that a committee, headed by Speaker Pradeep Amat, would look into the project and ascertain public opinion on constructing barrages over Mahanadi river in three districts of the state.

The proposal to set up a 320MW power project in Mahanadi river basin (Sindol-I, II, and III), for which the government had inked an MOU with the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) on July 21, had met with stiff resistance from all quarters. Lawyers, students and local people have been observing bandhs in protest against the government’s decision to set up the hydropower plant.

After the Assembly witnessed a stormy debate on the proposed project on August 22, the Speaker had announced that a House Committee would look into the contentious issue.

The committee was to comprise leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh, health minister Prasanna Acharya, food and civil supplies minister Niranajn Pujari, former minister and local MLA Padmanabha Behera, and MLAs Santosh Sigh Saluja and Bhagaban Kanhar.

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said: “We have not been consulted prior to the constitution of the committee. As people are opposing the project, there is no need to constitute the House Committee.”

BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra said he had already resigned from the committee. “People have already raised their voice by organising rallies and conducting parleys. There is no need for the committee to visit the spot again to gauge the mood of the public,” Mishra said.

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Entry filed under: Agriculture, Agriculture and Irrigation, Boudh, Region watch, Sambalpur, Sindhol project, Subarnapur.

Anti-Sindol bandh in Western Orissa Sindhol project through the eyes of a cartoonist

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