Mrunal Manmay Dash

Senior Congress leader and legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra staged a sit-in at the middle of the House during zero hour discussion in the Odisha Assembly on Tuesday.

Mishra sat on dharna demanding Vigilance probe on land acquisition for the Vedanta University at Puri. He also demanded a ruling from the Speaker on the issue.

During the zero-hour discussion on the second day of the budget session, Mishra read out all the verdicts on the Vedanta issue—from Lokpal to Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court. He alleged the Odisha government has provided undue and unfair advantage to Vedanta.

Mishra said while the Vedanta demanded only 3000 acres of land for its project in Odisha, the State government wanted to provide15,000 acres of land. Mishra demanded a ruling from the Speaker which would pave the way for a vigilance probe and subsequent action against responsible officials.

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He went on to allege that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Cabinet Ministers are involved in this multi-crore scam.

Mishra demanded a ruling from Speaker Pramila Mallik in this connection. But when the Speaker said she will examine the case and then will opine anything on it, Mishra sat on dharna at the middle of the House.

Notably, the Supreme Court had on April 12 termed the acquisition of 10,000 acres of land for the proposed project as illegal.

Then, the Supreme Court had reprimanded the Odisha government and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Vedanta. The Orissa High Court in 2010 quashed the process of land acquisition for the university and directed the authorities to return the acquired land to their owners.

Later, the Odisha government and the Anil Agarwal Foundation had moved the Supreme Court to save the proposed Rs 15,000-crore Vedanta University project in Puri.

The Odisha government had signed an agreement with Vedanta Foundation for the university in 2006.

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