Shimla, March 16 – Budget session 2023: Day started with ruckus, highlights on Thursday
The third day started in the morning, when, on the commencement of Question Hour, the BJP MLAs created ruckus in the House and started raising slogans demanding opening of denotified institutions towards the Sukhu government of the state. Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania tried to pacify the opposition members but the sloganeering continued, meanwhile Speaker Pathania started the Question Hour.
The question hour started with the Congress MLA Sanjay Ratna asking a supplementary question during the Question Hour about the practice of booking any kind of contracts should be stopped.
Then, the Speaker asked the BJP MLAs who were raising slogans that if they want to speak, then they allow it. After getting permission, Leader of Opposition Jairam Thakur said on behalf of BJP MLAs that the government is taking the opposition lightly. Taking decisions in haste, the government closed institutions across the state without thinking. Today, the BJP MLA wanted to meet the Chief Minister on this issue, but when they reached outside his chamber to meet the Chief Minister, the Congress MLAs stopped him and started raising slogans. Thakur accused the Satpaksha MLAs of committing hooliganism. Jairam said that the opposition will not tolerate hooliganism. If Satapaksha is thinking that they will bury or crush the opposition, this should not happen, he stated. He said that the situation that has arisen today was extremely unfortunate and the opposition is staging a walkout in protest against it.
With this, all the BJP MLAs walked out of the House raising slogans.
After the walkout of BJP MLAs, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harsh Vardhan Chouhan said the allegations made by BJP MLAs are not based on facts. This shows the desperation and fury of the opposition members. Last day, the government approved the proposal to stop the work brought and discussed the closure of the institutions for the whole day. But they went out of the House even before hearing the reply of the Chief Minister. He said that it seems that the opposition is trying to dictate to the government while the public has rejected them. He said that what the BJP MLAs did in the assembly premises today would be known as a black chapter. He accused the opposition members that they under the chairmanship of Leader of Opposition Jairam Thakur started shouting slogans wearing chains and locks around their necks while sitting down outside the chief minister’s chamber. He said that they were even asked to come and meet the Chief Minister. But these MLAs had not come with the intention of meeting the Chief Minister and on the spot they started raising slogans against the Chief Minister which the Congress MLAs could not hear. Congress MLAs also started raising slogans on this.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri asked Harsh Vardhan Chouhan to move a resolution condemning the conduct of the opposition BJP MLAs. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Chauhan brought the ‘motion of censure’ against the BJP MLAs and said that the Satpaksha is not afraid of BJP’s slogans. During this, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said about the Leader of the Opposition that Jairam, on the contrary, is talking like ‘Ulta chor Kotwal ko daante’. He accused Leader of Opposition Jairam Thakur of playing with the state’s resources. He said that the statement of BJP MLAs that they were not allowed to meet the Chief Minister is a bundle of lies. BJP MLAs are doing gimmicks.
Health Minister Colonel Dhaniram Shandil, keeping his stand on the motion of condemnation, during the Indo-China war of 1962, former Prime Minister Late. He reminded of the step taken by Lal Bahadur Shastri and said that when he was posted in the army in the Hussainiwala sector, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a call that the people of the country would not eat food for one time. He said that no one, including the officers, had food that evening. If the Chief Minister has taken any decision considering the financial condition of the state, then it should be followed.
Participating in the discussion, Congress MLA Sanjay Ratna said that the financial condition of the state is bad, in such a situation, the opposition MLAs should go to Delhi demanding a financial package from the BJP government at the Center and all the Congress MLAs including the Chief Minister will go. If the package of five thousand crores is received from the Central Government, then all the closed institutions will be opened on the very next day. He said that the BJP MLAs came to the Chief Minister’s Chamber wearing chains around their necks. Metal detectors are installed in the assembly premises. So how did he get inside? This is a big lapse in security. Tomorrow someone will come to the premises even with a weapon. He said that this behaviour of BJP is not at all in the interest of the state.
Summing it up, Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu said that the matter of closure of institutions was under consideration in the court. Despite this, a discussion was held on this issue. Sukhu said that when he saw the financial condition of the state after coming to power, he was pained to see how public money was misused by the previous government. So he decided that a white paper on the economic situation would be brought in the House. It does not suit the opposition to do politics with the help of lies, stated the CM.
After the Question Hour, Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu presented the Economic Survey 2022-23 in the House. In the survey, the speed of the state’s growth rate has been estimated to be 6.4 percent. It will be about one percent less as compared to the last financial year. According to the economic survey, the per capita income of the state has been estimated to be Rs 2 lakh 22 thousand 227.
Himachal Pradesh Hydroelectricity Generation Water Cess Bill 2023
Apart from this, the Himachal Pradesh Hydroelectricity Generation Water Cess Bill 2023, brought by the Sukhu government with the intention of generating an annual income of Rs 4,000 crore by levying a cess on water, was unanimously passed today. his bill is being considered as an important step towards increasing the income of the state from its own resources. The government has claimed in the House today that imposing this cess will not put any burden on the general public.
Discussion on the bill
BJP MLA Randhir Sharma, while discussing the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess Bill 2023 on hydroelectric power generation brought in the House to increase the state’s income after the Question Hour, raised the question of bringing an ordinance on this matter in the month of February. He said that when the budget session was to begin after fifteen days, then why this ordinance was brought. Apart from this, he also mentioned the effects of this law on the projects. He said that no cess has been imposed on projects up to five MW in Uttarakhand, will the same happen in Himachal.
Responding, Deputy Chief Minister Agnihotri took a jibe at Randhir Sharma and said that he was advocating for the capitalists. Agnihotri said that senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar has also been talking about imposing a cess on water. Today the government has made efforts in this direction and expects cooperation from the opposition.
Randhir Sharma said that he has expressed his concerns but the Deputy Chief Minister has played politics in this too. This is not right. The BJP also supports the creation of sources of income, but it should not be at the cost of the public. Congress MLA Rajesh Dharmani said whether the government will impose this cess only on hydroelectric projects or on the water that goes out of the state.
BJP MLA Trilok Jamwal said that this cess should be imposed on per unit basis. He also mentioned the impact of this cess on the electricity policy during the discussion in the House.
Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu said that the projects of less than five MW capacity, which are being run by the youth of Himachal, would definitely be given relief.
After this the bill was passed unanimously by the house.