Cong, BJP MLAs boycott Governor

Bhubaneswar: The Budget session of the Odisha Assembly started on a stormy note with the Congress and BJP MLAs boycotting the Governor’s customary address. As soon as Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare began his customary address, BJP MLAs first trooped out of the House. After a few minutes, Congress MLAs followed suit.
 
Governor Bhandare in his address stated that there has been a progressive improvement in Left Wing Extremism problem in the state during 2012 and the overall law and order situation in the state has remained by and large peaceful. The Governor said, “The pro-active security response has resulted in the death of 10 Maoists, arrest of 167 and surrender of as many as 35 cadres. Besides, a total number of 83 firearms, 125 landmines and improvised explosive devices and huge quantity of explosives and ammunition have been recovered during 2012. Due to sustained anti-Maoist action, no violence has been reported from Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Nayagarh, Deogarh, Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur districts last year”.
 
Governor Bhandare, of course, refrained from mentioning the abduction of Italian tourists and Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka in his speech. The high-profile kidnappings kept the state on the tenterhooks in March-April 2012.
 
Similarly, while discussing the mining sector in the state the Governor spoke about the launching of the Integrated Mines and Mineral Management System (i-3MS) to foster transparency in the mining operations. The Governor waxed eloquent about the online e-transit permit and pass system which has “eliminated the possibility of use of fake permit for such transportation”.
 
The Governor added saying, “These measures have not only improved the mineral administration but have also led to revenue generation of over Rs 3800 crore by the end of December 2012. It is expected that mining revenue by the end of FY 2012-13 would exceed the revenue of Rs 4586 crore realized during last fiscal year. This mining revenue is likely to increase further once the Central Government approves the state government’s proposal to impose mineral resource rent tax@50% of the surplus rent”.
 
Governor Bhandare, while speaking about the mining operations, did not mention the Shah Commission visits in 2012 to probe the mining scam, the demand notices served on lessees to recover nearly Rs 70,000-crore for alleged unlawful mining etc. As a political observer stated, “Governor Bhandare spoke like a Government spokesperson. How can the Moist kidnappings of 2012 and the irregularities in the mining sector be completely excluded from his speech”?