Opposition demands special assembly session

Bhubaneswar: With 21 of Orissa`s 30 districts hit by two spells of high floods after a drought in 16 districts, opposition Congress today demanded convening a special session of the assembly to discuss the calamities.

"We want a special session of the assembly as the matter is urgent affecting lives of lakhs of farmers," said leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh. A party delegation led by OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik while meeting the governor M C Bhandare yesterday too drew his attention in this regard.

"A special session of the assembly is generally convened during emergencies. As about 75 lakh people were hit by the calamity, a special session must be convened" said party`s chief whip Prasad Harichandan. BJP leader B B Harichandan also supported the Congress`s proposal of convening a special session of the assembly after floods and drought.

The ruling BJD, however, rejected the proposal with revenue and disaster management minister S N Patro asking the MLAs to visit their respective constituencies and monitor relief and restoration activities. "The MLAs have major roles to play in villages now than in the participating in debates," Patro said seeking cooperation of elected peoples` representatives to restore normalcy in flood hit districts. .

BJD`s senior leader and former minister Damodar Rout said "there is no harm in convening a special session of the assembly. But, opposition parties make such demand more for politics than the interest of the affected people." OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik alleged that the relief operation were being carried out in affected areas keeping the ensuing panchayat elections in mind.

Ruling BJD workers are trying to woo voters by providing relief to them while ignoring many real flood victims, Patnaik alleged.