The second day of the ongoing winter session of Tripura Assembly witnessed uproar Monday over a host of issues including alleged attacks on Left legislators, amending Tripura Cooperative Societies Act, Tripura Shops and Establishments Act, as opposition members staged walk out thrice on the day.
During the Zero Hour, Opposition CPI(M) MLA Sudhan Das raised the issue of attacks on opposition legislators in different parts of Tripura during the last eight months. He referred to alleged attacks on Left MLAs at Belonia in south district, Bishalgarh in Sipahijala district and Udaipur in Gomati district where.
Mentioning a statement from Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb made on November 23 in the Assembly, where he assured action on alleged attacks on opposition elected public representatives, Deputy Speaker Biswabandhu Sen tried to stop MLA Sudhan Das amidst his speech and tried to continue with business of the House.
The opposition members alleged that they were not allowed to voice themselves inside the House and staged a walk out. However, they joined the session in second half of the day.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb moved an amendment bill for the Tripura Cooperative Societies Act in the second half of the day’s business when opposition MLAs alleged that the Bill was proposed to legalize breaking up of statutory bodies in different levels of the three-tier Panchayat.
Following a series of argument, opposition members staged walk out again.
Chief Minister Deb also moved a host of other Bills including Tripura Urban Planning and Development Bill, Criminal Law (Tripura amendment) Bill, Tripura Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Reservation (third amendment) Bill and Tripura Shops and Establishments (fourth amendment) Bill today.
The shops and establishments bill proposed to withdraw a section of the existing law which mandated 1.5 days closure of all shops and trading outlets in all markets of the state.
Opposing the Bill, former Industries and Commerce minister Tapan Chakraborty said it would pave way for exploitation of workers in shops and other trading concerns at the hands of owners. He said the Bill favoured the interests of customers and owners but was blind on labour right issues.
Chakraborty demanded to withdraw the Bill and said labour rights of 8 hours daily work and 1.5 day holiday every week would be adversely affected if the proposed Bill was passed.
In response, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb reasoned that the state government would earn more revenue due to keeping shops and trading concerns open for all 7 days of the week, which would benefit people through different schemes and projects in return.
Deb claimed a “change of mindset” was needed to adapt to the revised rules.
“It is wrong to identify owners, entrepreneurs or shopkeepers as enemies. Owners and workers have to work together to bring profit. This mindset of identifying owners as enemies has to be changed”, Deb said in an oblique reference to the communist ideology of class struggle.
After their objections were denied, opposition members staged walk out for the third time.
On a different issue, Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Sudip Roy Barman said in his response to a calling attention notice moved by BJP MLA Shankar Roy in the House that the incumbent government has plans to turn Tripura into an Open Defecation Free (ODF) state by December 31 this year.
“Eighteen out of 1,178 gram panchayats and village committees in Tripura were announced Open Defecation Free (ODF) from 2013 till March 08, 2013. 1,160 others were not declared ODF during this timeframe. None of the 58 rural development blocks in the state were announced ODF”, the minister said.