Ruckus in Odisha Assembly over irrigation project

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today denied opposition BJP's accusation that no allotment was made for an irrigation project, while the saffron party members created ruckus in the Assembly leading to its adjournment twice.

During the question hour, BJP members stormed into well of the House and slammed the state government for not making any allocation in the supplementary budget for the Gangadhar Meher Lift Canal System in Bargar district.

The BJP members shouted anti-government slogans and claimed the government has shown disrespect to the eminent 19th century poet Gangadhar Meher after whom the project is named, by not allocating funds for it.

Unable to run the House, Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat adjourned the House till 11.30 a m. After the House reassembled, BJP members continued shouting in the well while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was making a statement on the issue.

As BJP MLAs interrupted him, Patnaik asked them to cooperate without shedding crocodile tears.

He said the allegation of non-allocation of funds for Gangadhar Meher Lift Canal System is not true.

In the annual budget of 2017-18, Rs 1.5 crore has been allocated under pre-project activities of pipeline projects including Bijepur Lift Irrigation Project, he said.

One of those 58 projects, Bijepur Lift Irrigation Project has recently been renamed as Gangadhar Meher Lift Canal System and it would be reflected in the outcome budget of water resources department, the chief minister said.

Besides, the government has created a working division at Bijepur with one executive engineer, three assistant executive engineers and six junior engineers with other support staff to look after this project, he said.

After the House was adjourned till 3 pm due to the pandemonium, BJP members staged a dharna near Mahatma Gandhi statue on the Assembly premises and accused the state government of misleading the people by naming the irrigation project after Gangadhar Meher.

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