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Congress walk out of house
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUL 26 (NPN):
Published on 27 Jul. 2010 1:10 AM IST
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The entire opposition from the Congress party Monday afternoon staged a walk out from the house expressing dissatisfaction on the budget and ‘misleading replies’ by ministers and parliamentary secretaries to questions put by the opposition members.
The walk out was preceded by Congress legislator C.Apok Jamir’s discussion on the budget for the year 2010-2011 where he had said the treasury bench were “not prepared” to give suitable replies to questions put by opposition members.
Apok said the replies tantamount to misleading members of the House and a mockery not only of the assembly but also deprived people of their rights. “We are not satisfied, we disapprove and are discouraged” he said after which the entire opposition walked out of the assembly at around 3.45 pm. Altogether 11 Congress legislators from the opposition bench staged the walk out.
During discussion Apok said there were “hiccups” in budget speech indicative of a government faced with a difficult financial management. Citing the budget speech that 65 % of expenditure was going on employees’ salaries and 35 % on developmental activities, Apok said it was a serious issue which needed to be addressed on war-footing.
Earlier, leader of opposition Tokheho said that the budget was not for common people revealed it was only for a privileged few. He termed the budget as “anti-people”, “most biased and unbalanced” and regretted that funds were not equally distributed to the 11 districts.
Demanding that the government undertake austerity measures to contain the deficit, Tokheho cited the reports and figures from various departments to substantiate his point. Quoting the SIT report, under school education department, during 2002-2009, he said the state lost Rs. 193.52 crore in 8 years on payment of salaries to bogus teachers.
In the power department, under power operation deficit, he said the state lost Rs. 366.90 crore including Rs.12.58 crore and Rs.22.12 crore on payment of salaries and upgradation respectively for Wazheho Cement plant. He said the total loss of around Rs. 594.22 crore could have been saved had the government undertaken austerity measures and contain deficit to only Rs.7. 42 crore.
He also described the two departments- - “power and transport” as “white elephants” and suggested that they be privatized as the tourism department.
Tokheho called for serious exercise to increase revenue and agreed with Congress MLA Chingwang that commercial buildings in important towns be taxed to generate more revenue.
Congress MLA Chingwang Konyak said that the budget was “imbalanced” and pointed out that the concept of the budget was not merely on the receipts and expenditure, but also on economic policy. Stating that tea cultivation was an alternative to jhum cultivation, Chingwang said small tea growers should be encouraged for improving the economy. Congress MLA Langpha and those from the ruling bench also participated in the budget discussion.

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