Asking Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to admit on the floor of the House that his decision to support demonetisation was wrong, opposition Congress on Thursday requested the Assembly secretariat to pay MLAs through cash instead of cheque.
“Whatever we get as salary or remuneration should be paid in cash instead of cheque. Otherwise, the MLAs may have to run to banks several times as there is restriction on the amount of withdrawal,” Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra said while speaking on the demonetisation measure during his speech on the Odisha Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2016.
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Stating that Odisha finance minister Pradip Kumar Amat has admitted that the demonetisation would have an adverse impact on the state’s economy, Mishra said “It was Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who immediately supported Prime Minister Modi’s demonetisation scheme. Now at least say on the floor of the House that your view on the scheme is wrong.”
Mishra was referring Patnaik’s statement on November 9 where he described Modi’s demonetisation scheme as a “bold step”. He said the poor in the state have suffered a lot due to the demonetisation move and agriculture, trade and commerce have been badly hit in the process.
Small traders and marginal farmers were the worst victims of demonetisation, he said. The Congress leader pointed out that farmers were paid crop insurance benefits after one complete year of crop loss.
Now, they were not being able to draw the amount from their accounts due to shortage of cash in banks. This has led to illegal money lending in the rural pockets of the state, he said adding, people were gradually falling into debt traps.
The Congress leader wanted to know from the state government on the measures taken to ease the problems of farmers, small traders and daily wage earners.
“A benevolent government must come to the rescue of the people in distress,” he said. The people who migrated to other places in search of work have now started to return as they were not being paid due to acute shortage of cash,” the Congress leader said.
Coming down heavily on the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition said the 17-year-old BJD government has failed to provide safe drinking water to people, education to the children, minimum health care to women and children and water for irrigation.
Terming the state government as “direction-less” and “incompetent”, Mishra said, “The government is not responding to the queries of the Opposition. Even the Chief Minister has the habit of running away from the House.”
“The CM has created a world record for not participating in debates or giving his views on any issue. Though the CM claims he is prepared to answer the Opposition in the House, he runs away at the time of reply,” he said. The Leader of Opposition held the Chief Minister responsible for the issues like Mahanadi and Polavaram.
“The state government’s lack of vision has landed the entire state in trouble over Mahanadi issue. Patnaik in 2010 had informed this House that projects on upstream of Mahanadi will not affect the state. Now, he claimed otherwise,” Mishra said.
In the Polavaram matter the state government has failed to stop the project which was likely to be completed by 2020, Mishra said, alleging that the entire state suffered due to wrong policies of the Chief Minister.