Jammu: The opposition National Conference on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Legislative Assembly on the issue of power outage and lack of snow-clearing arrangements.
Senior NC leader and legislative assembly member from Khanyar, Ali Mohammad Sagar raised the issue as soon as the question hour began. He asked the government to reveal what steps it had initiated to address the problems faced by people in the wake of snowfall.
“Almost all the areas in the Valley are without electricity, and snow clearance hasn’t been properly undertaken by the government,” he said.
The NC legislator was backed by NC leader and MLA from Kangan, Mian Altaf, who accused the government of being callous towards the problems of common people.
“This government isn’t serious about the problems faced by the people. In my constituency, almost 20 transformers have been damaged but the government isn’t even replying to my questions,” Altaf said.
Reacting to the statements of the opposition members, deputy chief minister and power minister Nirmal Singh informed the assembly that the government through video conferencing had convened a meeting after the season’s first snowfall in which it had instructed officials to ensure all basic facilities to the people.
On the issue of electricity restoration in the Valley, the Dy CM claimed that electricity in 80% areas of the Valley had been restored. He said that “everyone should help the government when such natural calamities occur.”
Taking strong exception to the statement made by the Dy CM, the opposition NC asked how is snowfall a natural calamity and soon after, its members staged a walkout. Ali Mohammad Sagar led other NC legislators out of the assembly hall after denouncing the government. “The Deputy CM has misled the house because the electricity has only been restored in 10% areas of the Valley. The rest continue to grope in darkness. The statement shows the indifference of the government towards the problems faced by the people of the Valley,” Sagar said.
The opposition parties NC and Congress, which seemed to be united throughout the budget session on every issue, seemed to have developed a difference of opinion on this issue: the Congress members kept to their seats throughout the protests made by NC members.
GM Saroori of the Congress entered into a verbal dual with the minister of state for transport, youth services and sports, saying that the minister had allocated Rs 5 lakh to his “blue-eyed contractor” for the work on the sports stadium at Chatroo without following norms. Saroori later staged a walkout as a mark of protest against the minister.
Engineer Rashid, while taking part in the debate on grants of relief and rehabilitation, warned the government against settling West Pakistan Refugees in any part of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that these refugees should be settled in other parts of the country as settling them in J&K is against the mandate of Article 370. Another option he suggested was that the Government of India should hold talks with Pakistan to recall its citizens with honour.
Amid heated arguments with BJP legislators, Rashid said that West Pakistan Refugees should be sent back to Pakistan and asked the government what had happened to the resettlement bill passed by the state assembly in 1982.
Rashid also lashed out at the government over its plans for separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits and said that it would not be tolerated at any cost. He also sought eviction of non-state subjects from the state.