Cong moves privilege motion against Min

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress on Saturday moved a privilege motion in state Assembly accusing Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro of "misleading" the House by saying that Centre had not given any financial assistance to the state for last year`s drought and unseasonal rain.

Following the submission of the privilege notice by Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan, speaker Pradip Kumar Amat said he would examine it.

While replying to an adjournment debate, Patro had told the house on March 24 that the Centre had not given a single paise to the state while it sanctioned Rs 400 crore for Andhra Pradesh and Rs 600 crore for Maharashtra.

The minister further said that the state government from its own resources had disbursed Rs 105 crore for giving assistance to the farmers, hit by unseasonal rain.

The minister, however, corrected his statement on the floor of the assembly yesterday through a statement which said that the state`s special relief commissioner (SRC) got information regarding the Centre`s sanction order at 5.46 pm on March 24.

Outside the assembly, Patro clarified that the state government was not aware about the Centre`s sanction order of Rs 560 crore towards drought and unseasonal rain in the state, when he was replying to the adjournment motion.

Serving the notice, Harichandan claimed that as he had received a fax message regarding the Centre`s sanction order at 2.10 pm on March 24, it was wrong on part of the minister to say that he received information at 5.46 pm the same day.

Submitting relating documents, Harichandan said that being a senior minister Patro must be aware about the sanction order, recommendations and release of funds.

Claiming that the state government had received the sanction order on February 26, the Congress chief whip said that minister was misleading the house deliberately.

Harichandan also alleged that the minister had insulted the federal system of democracy by saying that he had no faith in the central government.

Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress raised the issue in the zero hour and wanted to know the intention of the minister to mislead the house about the central funding towards drought and unseasonal rains in the state.

"It is unfortunate that a senior minister misleads the house," Singh said. His party colleague S S Saluja supported the privilege motion.

Though some of the ruling BJD members tried to speak in support of the minister, the speaker did not allow further discussion on the subject as the matter was being examined by him.