House committee probe demanded into ‘false’ reply given by govt
Jammu: The PDP-BJP government had to face embarrassment on Monday when BJP leader and MLA from RS Pora, Dr Gagan Bhagat, created pandemonium in the legislative assembly and staged a walkout along with opposition members against the government’s reply to his question on the status of work completed for an artificial lake on River Tawi.
He stormed to the well of the house and tore and threw papers upon the treasury benches, accusing the government of misleading the house and taking it for granted.
Demanding a house committee probe into the reply given by minister of state for tourism Priya Sethi, Bhagat called the reply false and misleading. “Everybody can see for themselves that not even half the work has been completed and still this government has claimed that it has completed 80% work on the artificial lake,” he said.
Bhagat received supported from NC legislator and provincial president Devinder Raina, who also demanded a house committee probe into the matter.
Senior leader of the NC and MLA from Khanyar, Ali Mohammad Sagar said that the matter needed a probe by a house committee because a ruling party MLA had questioned the reply given by the government.
Independent MLA from Udhampur, Pawan Gupta, supported Bhagat and said to the BJP state president, Sat Paul Sharma, who is MLA from Jammu East, that people of Jammu will not forgive the BJP for compromising on its poll promises for the sake of power.
Minister for Education Naeem Akhtar tried to give a clarification from the side of the government, but the opposition members along with BJP’s Gagan Bhagat and independent MLA Pawan Gupta staged a walkout against the government’s decision to not constitute a house committee to probe the matter.
Earlier, while replying to Bhagat’s question on the status of work completed, MOS Tourism Priya Sethi clarified that the 80% work mentioned in the government’s reply related to design and construction of barrages across Tawi River by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department and not the 80% work on the artificial lake.
Later, speaking to media outside the assembly, Gagan Bhagat accused the PDP-run departments of discriminating against Jammu region. “The PDP ministers heading various departments are discriminating against Jammu. We had fought and won the election against the 70 years of discrimination against Jammu. If the government has completed 80% work, then why isn’t it visible on the ground? The central government is ours and the BJP is in coalition in the state, but still the works in Jammu are stuck and the main reason is discrimination by PDP ministers,” Bhagat said.
NC’s Devinder Rana told media persons that the government’s claims of developing Jammu had been razed to the ground by its own member.
Congress MLA from Banihal Vikar Rasool also criticised the government for ignoring Jammu’s tourism development. “The present government has not only ignored Jammu but also Kishtwar, Baderwah, Banihal and other Chenab Valley areas that have immense tourism potential. Today, while answering Gagan Bhagat’s question, the government had no answer and that was why we staged a walkout from the house,” he said to media persons outside the assembly.
Udhampur MLA Pawan Gupta told the media that discrimination against Jammu has doubled under the Mehbooba Mufti government. “They have betrayed the mandate and are mocking people by providing false data in the house,” he said.
Rejecting the allegations, Minster for Education Naeem Akhtar told media persons outside the assembly building that the opposition NC and Congress have no issue left, which is why they are raking non-issues. The government is committed to its promise of developing Jammu as an independent tourist destination, he said.
“We never said that 80% work has been completed. We only informed the house that the work related to barrages by irrigation and flood control department is 80% complete,” Akhtar said.