Odishatv Bureau

Pandemonium on Monday prevailed at the Odisha Legislative Assembly over the non-listing of the adjournment motion of the Opposition. Members of the Congress and the BJP trooped into the well of the House, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House till 4 pm. 

Opposition BJP and Congress launched a scathing attack on the State government over the seizure of government property by L&T for non-payment of dues.

An adjournment motion was moved in this regard which was not accepted by the Assembly Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha. Following this, the BJP and the Congress members went into the well and created ruckus over the issue.

The Opposition members said that a due of Rs 20 crore was not paid to the L&T on time. Now, the amount has gone up to Rs 120 crore including interest. Both the opposition parties cornered the government over the issue seeking clarification from the State Works Minister in this regard.

Giving a ruling, Arukha said, “A review petition was earlier filed with the Supreme Court in connection with the issue. Hence, as per Rule 60 (VII), a matter which is already sub-judice cannot be debated on the floor of the House.”

However, Opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi opposed the ruling as the case was not accepted for hearing in Orissa High Court. He demanded a debate on the issue saying it to be delicate.

Joining the league, senior Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said that the State government did not give importance to the issue between 2004 and 2022. The private company has obtained all secret information of the government stored in a number of computers, he said.

For this, the company must be black-listed with immediate effect. Properties of government officials, who are responsible for the wrongdoing, should be seized, demanded Bahinipati.

Replying to the Opposition, the ruling BJD MLAs said, “Assembly Speaker’s ruling must be treated as supreme in the House.”

There are other forums for debate. Any discussion would impact the case, BJD MLAs added.

Worth mentioning, L&T was given the contract for the construction of 166 km of road from Sambalpur to Rourkela. However, the Works department reportedly failed to pay Rs 20 crore to the company after the completion of the work. 

Later, L&T moved the court for non-payment of its dues. In 2004, the Odisha Arbitration Centre asked the government to pay the money to the company. But the government challenged the order in the High Court. The State government subsequently moved the Supreme Court after it lost the case in the High Court. The government filed a review petition in the apex court after the Supreme Court ordered in favour of the company. In the meantime, the Rs 20 crore due has gone up to Rs 120 crore (after including the interest). 

The Company then moved the court of Civil Judge (Commercial) as the government did not make the payment even after the court order. The court then ordered the seizure of the property of the government when it did not take any action even after repeated notice. On Friday, the company, with the help of the Police seized government property.