Power failure at the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly due to heavy rainfall on Friday led to the adjournment of the third day of the Monsoon Session. The Legislative Council, too, was adjourned within 30 minutes of the House meeting for the day.
Electricity supply had to be turned off after the power transformer, located in a low-lying area at Vidhan Bhavan, flooded following heavy rains since Thursday night. This prompted the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena to question the Fadnavis government’s preparedness to host the session in Nagpur.
While Nagpur usually hosts the Winter Session of the Assembly every year, this is for the first time in 42 years that Monsoon Session is being held here.
Soon after the House met, Speaker Haribhau Bagde adjourned the session for an hour after the transformer was switched off. At 11 am, when the House reconvened, the security staff had to switch on cellphone lights to help the Speaker reach his chair. Some ministers and members were also seen using cellphone lights. Bagde then adjourned the House for the day.
When the Legislative Council met at noon, its Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar adjourned the House for the day.
“The transformer, which is located in a low-lying area, was flooded. As a result, we had to switch off the main electricity point as a precautionary measure. It was a technical snag,” Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule told mediapersons. “This may have happened because the drainage was not cleaned… We were not sure if generators can take the entire load of the Vidhan Bhavan premises,” he said.
“In 1961, we had faced a similar situation during the Nagpur Monsoon Session (held for the first time in the city), when the power transformer failed. Efforts to restore electricity went in vain. So, Assembly proceedings were stopped for the day,” said an official.
The Opposition, as well as BJP ally Shiv Sena, took on the government over the development. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, said: “It shows how ill-prepared the government is.” On beer and plastic bottles being found in the drains of Vidhan Bhavan, the Congress leader said: “This also raises a question mark on the security arrangement made for the session.”
Alleging administrative failure, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the government delayed its decision to hold the Monsoon Session in Nagpur and there was little time for the authorities to make arrangements. “The confusion within the BJP and Sena over where to hold the session provided very little time for preparations.”
“The government failed in making preparations for the session. It took a very casual approach,” said NCP leader Jayant Patil. Targeting the Nagpur Municipal Corporation over waterlogging in the city, Minister Diwakar Raote said the BJP should explain why the civic body failed to prepare for the monsoon.
Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said: “The BJP is always pointing towards the failure of the BMC whenever Mumbai is flooded due to heavy rainfall. Now, it owes an explanation for its corporation’s failure in Nagpur.”