The government’s move to push in Rajya Sabha a bill on releasing funds for afforestation was scuttled yet again by a vociferous Congress which forced truncation of the day’s proceedings by pressing for a decision on a private member bill on Andhra Pradesh special package. Congress created ruckus soon after the Calling Attention Motion on Mahanadi river dam, forcing a 30-minute adjournment before the House was adjourned for the day at around 4.25 pm.
The members of the main opposition, which had on Monday threatened not to allow any government business till voting on private member bill on Andhra Pradesh, created uproar when Deputy Chairman P J Kurien wanted to take up the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill. They raised the issue of private member bill which provides for special package to Andhra Pradesh and pressed for voting on it.
Kurien ruled that the bill cannot be taken up on Tuesday and promised to do so on coming Friday. Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government is open for a discussion on the Andhra Pradesh bill right away but asserted that there cannot be voting on ‘money bill’ in the Upper House. He said the Congress wanted to amend the Budget which the Upper House was not empowered to do.
As Congress members created ruckus, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the main opposition party was creating roadblock in the development process. Pushing for consideration of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill which is intended to unlock Rs 42,000 crore for afforestation purposes, he said Andhra Pradesh will get Rs 2,223 crore if this legislation bill is passed.
“By stopping passage of this Bill, you are doing injustice to the poor and adivasis. The country will not tolerate this injustice,” he said, adding that there should be voting on this as “Congress is isolated”. This is the third time since Thursday last that Congress prevented taking up of the afforestation bill. The private member bill for special package to Andhra Pradesh, moved by Congress MP K V P Ramchandra Rao on last Friday during private member business, could not be taken up eon that day as the House was adjourned following ruckus over AAP MP Bhagwant Mann’s controversial filming of Parliament.
While Congress members trooped into the Well and raised slogans on Tuesday, Kurien said the private member bill cannot be taken up today. “It can be taken up on Friday after a decision taken by the Business Advisory Committee. Not possible to have vote today,” the Deputy Chairman ruled, much to the unhappiness of opposition members.