Ruckus in House over appointment of engineers

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly was adjourned till 3 PM on Wednesday following a ruckus created by the opposition Congress and BJP members demanding a ruling from the Speaker on irregularities in the appointment of assistant executive engineers.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra alleged that there have been massive irregularities in the appointment of assistant executive engineers.

He said chief minister Naveen Patnaik, through his Twitter handle in December 2015, had stated that there have been massive irregularities in the appointment of assistant executive engineers, which had even exceeded the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh.

Stating that the chief minister, who had admitted to such huge irregularities, later gave appointment letters to some assistant engineers, Mishra urged the Speaker to give a ruling on this matter and direct the chief minister to clarify the issue in the House.

Supporting his demand, the Congress and BJP members rushed to the Well of the House and shouted anti-government slogans.

In the meanwhile, Malkangiri BJD MLA Manas Madkami demanded a discussion on Polavaram issue to which the Speaker allowed him.

Protesting the decision of the Speaker, the Opposition members created hullabaloo in the House. Unable to run the House proceedings, the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 PM.

Talking to OTV later, Congress member Prafulla Majhi said prior to the appointment of assistant executive engineers, the office of the chief minister, in a letter to the General Administration department, had directed a halt to the appointment of assistant executive engineers selected by the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) with immediate effect.

“The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) had also ordered a stay in the selection of these engineers by the OPSC. But the GA department ignored the directive of the chief minister and the SAT and issued appointment letters to these engineers. Even the chief minister, who had earlier asked the GA department to stop such appointments, later issued the appointment letters to some assistant executive engineers,” Majhi alleged.

Asked about the issue, BJD member Samir Dash said since the Leader of the Opposition has raised the issue, the House will definitely have a discussion on this. Since the chief minister’s office (CMO) has written a letter in this regard, it will take some time to investigate into the issue.

Speaking on the adjournment of the House, Dash said since the leader of the Opposition has demanded a ruling on the issue, the Speaker will consider his demand. But the Speaker allowed the ruling members to have a discussion on Polavaram issu, which is more significant as the interest of Odisha is involved.

“You see, the Congress member Ranjib Biswal had vehemently protested the statement of Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Polavaram issue in the Parliament yesterday. Considering the overall interest of the state, the Opposition members should have agreed to the Speaker’s discretion in allowing the ruling members to initiate a discussion on the matter in the House which they did not allow. It shows that the Opposition is in no mood to run the House,” he argued.

Countering his statement, Majhi said the Congress is also opposed to Polavaram issue as it knows that the southern district of Malkangiri would be badly affected if the project comes up.

“But what problem did the Speaker have in giving a ruling to our demand? He could have allowed the Congress for a deliberation on the issue if not today, then tomorrow. Instead, he allowed the ruling members for a discussion on Polavaram only to save the chief minister under whose knowledge the massive irregularities have taken place,” he pointed out.