Bhubaneswar: State Assembly was adjourned six times on Wednesday, as Opposition Congress members stormed into the well protesting against the BJD government’s reported move to hike tax on medicine and several essential commodities.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh stood up and flashed a newspaper carrying a report about the move to raise VAT on medicines and other essential commodities like food items and sugar.
Singh alleged that fresh taxes were imposed to ensure compensation of the funds collected by the ruling BJD as election fund for the recently-concluded panchayat elections from the business community. He sought to know what prompted the Government to go in for a decision on financial matters when the Assembly session was on and the annual Budget for the 2012-13 is to be presented on February 24.
He said that when the Governor in his address to the House on Tuesday had said that the financial position of the State was on a strong footing and the State GDP was growing by 8.22 per cent and the plan size for the 12th Plan is projected at Rs 1 lakh crore, there was no necessity of imposing levy and raise the VAT rates. This would hit the poor hard, he said.
As Congress members trooped into the well raising slogans against the government and its decision to hike tax, the speaker adjourned the first till 12 noon.
When the House reassembled, Singh alleged the BJD was attacking the people by raising tax after the polls were over. He said “What prompted the Government to raise VAT on essential items in a hurry when the assembly is in session?”
The agitating members also raised the issue of attack by BJD supporters on Dhenkanal NCP MLA Nabin Nanda, his son and PSO and the threat given by the Dhenkanal SP and sought clarification from the Government as well as protection to lawmakers.
As noisy scenes prevailed with opposition members asking the speaker to ensure protection to the legislators, the House was adjourned thrice in quick successions for discussion with political parties for smooth transaction of business. The house could not transact any business in the afternoon session as Opposition continued their protest.