Dama-Surya in war of words during question hour

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly witnessed an unsavory scene today when a war of words ensued between two heavyweights of the ruling party – Cooperation minister Damodar Rout and former minister Surya Narayan Patra – over the latter’s remark on defunct cold storages during question hour.

While asking a question, Patra said, quoting the minister’s remark, “If the registrars of cooperative societies are disobeying him, has he taken the matter to the notice of the chief minister and the Chief secretary?”.

Chief Secretary is the custodian of all departments and the minister is the policy executor. The matter should be taken to him or the chief minister, Patra said asking him why he has not initiated departmental proceedings against such officials.

In his reply, Rout attacked the former minister reminding him of his tenure as Ganjam district head.

“An urban cooperative bank was established in Chhatrapur in 1915. It was liquidated in 2015 when he (Surya) was the district chief. So, he is not thinking about his inefficiency; rather, he is trying to embarrass me by raising my comment before the media”.

The minister said Patra’s motive is something different. “I understood your intention. But I would not allow anybody to fulfill their motives”, Rout added.

However, the Digapahandi MLA later clarified before the media that his intention was only to raise questions. “I have no such motive to embarrass the minister, only to get some information”, Patra said outside the Assembly.

Notably, Cooperation minister Damodar Rout had told media persons that registrars of the cooperative society were paying little heed to his order to repair the defunct cold storages.