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Karnataka opposition continues protest
Published on 15 Jul. 2010 11:12 PM IST
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The Karnataka assembly Thursday passed six bills amidst slogan shouting and tearing of copies of bills and other legislative papers by the protesting Congress and Janata Dal-Secular legislators who have been stationed inside the assembly premises for the fourth day demanding a CBI probe into illegal mining.
The assembly and legislative council proceedings have been stalled since Tuesday as the ruling Bharatiaya Janata Party (BJP) has rejected a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe. The Congress-JDS combine has been on a 24-hour sit-in in the assembly since Monday night insisting on a CBI probe.
The opposition legislators have stayed put in the assembly, braving rodents, mosquitoes, and lack of soft beds as the ruling party showed no sign of accepting their demand to bring in the CBI to probe illegal mining and export, which the Congress claims is a Rs.60,000 crore (Rs.600 billion) scam.
The wood-paneled assembly and council are in the stately Vidhana Soudha or the state secretariat in the heart of Bangalore.
The protesting legislators have been indulging in slogan shouting during the brief time the two houses meet, and spend the rest of the day in small talk, cracking jokes at BJP leaders, singing folk songs, dozing off in sofas and chairs and managing a few hours sleep in the night.
With morning coffee/tea to dinner inside the premises, the legislators briefly go back to their residences or their rooms in the nearby legislators’ home every morning to freshen up and return for a new round of slogan shouting and battling nocturnal creatures in the night.
The two houses began the 25-day session June 28 and are to approve the state budget, demands for grants various departments and appropriation bills.
With no indication of the opposition relenting despite efforts by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Home Minister V.S. Acharya and the presiding officers of the two houses, K.G. Bopaiah of the assembly and D.H. Shankara Murthy of the council, the government rushed through six bills in the assembly.
BJP sources said the government was thinking of adopting the same procedure Friday to have the demands and appropriation bills passed, and adjourn the two houses sine die, which may force the opposition legislators to vacate the premises.
“A final decision, however, has not been taken,” the sources said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka legislative assembly Thursday passed a bill to set up an Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) at Devanahalli near Bangalore in partnership with the central government, a move aimed to boost exports and create jobs.
The ITIR Act, 2010 will enable the state to attract a whopping Rs.2 trillion (Rs.2 lakh crore) global investments in the knowledge sector, boost exports and create 3 million jobs in a decade.
As India’s tech hub, Bangalore accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s software exports and over 90 percent of the state’s IT exports.
“The ITIR will be a self-sustainable integrated investment region housing IT, ITeS (IT enabled services) and hardware parks, supported by residential townships, a mini airport, high-speed railway network, shopping malls, hospitals and educational institutions among others,” state IT & Bio Technology Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu told reporters later.

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