Mrunal Manmay Dash

The day 3 of the winter session of the Odisha Assembly seems to have been over for good without any discussion after the Speaker adjourned the house till 4 pm, immediately after the proceedings began on Thursday morning.

As per reports, the House was adjourned following a ruckus by the Opposition MLAs over the ST land transfer bill. While the Opposition wanted the government to answer why the bill was only postponed and not withdrawn completely, the government did not seem to have listened to their demands, leading the Opposition to raise slogans and disrupt the session.

To make their point, Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs wore tribal clothes to the House today in a symbolic gesture. They alleged the government is forming policies to harass the tribals. They came to the well and created ruckus saying they would not stop the protest until the government withdrew the bill completely.

The Assembly was adjourned two times yesterday too, over the same issue when the Opposition demanded to discuss the tribal land issue but the Speaker did not allow the topic to be discussed.

Speaking about the transfer of land bill, Congress Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Suresh Chandra Routray said, “It is an injustice being done by the Odisha government. If needed, the government will not hesitate to sell our own land. The Odisha Govt. needs to have a proper discussion before implementing the bill.”

Similarly, BJP MLA and Opposition chief whip, Mohan Majhi said that the Odisha Cabinet’s decision of transferring the tribal lands will not benefit them in any manner. This decision from the Odisha govt. is a clear indication of encroaching on the lands of the poor. We demand the Odisha govt. to withdraw this bill. It is a sensitive matter and action needs to be taken to save the lands of the tribal people.”

Meanwhile, BJP MLAs have started a march to the Raj Bhawan to meet the Governor and apprise him of their demands. 

On November 14, the Odisha Cabinet had decided to amend a law allowing the scheduled tribe people (ST) to transfer their land to non-tribals in scheduled areas with written permission from the sub-collector. However, the government withheld the same decision on November 17.