Cong, BJP question delay in Lokayukta appointment

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress and the BJP on Friday criticised Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not issuing a notification on the implementation of Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2015.

The issue was raised by Opposition Leader Narasingha Mishra of Congress in Assembly while discussing the voting of supplementary demands for grants, relating to home and general administration, held by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Mishra also questioned the non appointment of a Lokayukta and a full-time chairman of State Human Rights Commission and Police Compliant Authority.

When Odisha government takes pride of becoming the first state in the country to pass a Lokayukta Bill in 2015, it does not appoint a Lokayukta even after two-and-hald years, Mishra said.

"If you (CM) give a call for zero tolerance to corruption, how the state government has not issued notification for appointment of Lokayukta?" Mishra asked.

He added that it is enough indication that the state government is not interested to enquire into allegations of corruption against persons holding high posts.

Accusing the Chief Minister of sheltering corrupt officials and mines owners, the Congress leader said the Supreme Court has given a clear directive for setting up the Police Complaint Authority.

He said the M B Shah Commission of Inquiry has indicted some officials and mines owners. The commission had also recommended CBI probe into the mining scam. "Had there been a Lokayukta, the matter could have gone to it," Mishra said.

Mishra also took a dig at the state government over the rise in crime against women, particularly rape cases.

"When there are at least three rape incidents taking place every day, the rate of conviction in such crime is only six per cent," Mishra said adding Odisha is at the third spot in crime against women, after Delhi and Assam.

BJP member and party's state president Basant Panda also sought explanation from the chief minister on the reason behind not appointing a Lokayukta. He alleged that the police is being used for political gains of the ruling party.

BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo also came down heaily on the police administration and alleged that the force is misutilised by the ruling party.

Member of the ruling BJD, Sanjay Dasburma, Pramila Mallick and Bedprakash Agarwal, however, defended the state government and rejected allegations made by the Congress and BJP members.

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