Anand, Chacko spar over unused funds

Anand, Chacko spar over unused funds

Chako, MP from Kerala and  also chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the 2G spectrum allocation, lashed out at Sharma on the floor of the Lok Sabha over unused budgeted amount meant for handloom workers.

While this happened during the question hour in the House on Monday, the spar between the two spilled over to the lobby, soon after. An angry Sharma attempted to take on the member asking how could he talk against the government being a ruling party MP.

Chacko shot back saying he was speaking for the people of his constituency and warned the minister that he would move a privilege motion against him. Chacko is also chairman of the Privileges Committee of the House. Chacko said he was speaking on behalf of 10 lakh handloom workers in his constituency and that the minister had no right to question him.

The matter did not end there. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal, who was told about the angry exchanges, came to the lobby to pacify them and took them to his office where also the angry exchanges continued.

However, Sharma later cooled down and apologised to Chacko. “He called me from the airport and said sorry. He also said he has been minister for textiles only for the last five months and was not exactly fully responsible for it. I told him I agree with him but what about bureaucracy? However, the matter is closed now.”

Earlier, Chacko had drawnthe atttention of the minister to the non-implementation of Rs 3,000-crore debt waiver package to handloom workers, announced in the Budget. More embarassment followed for the minister as the Opposition MPs also joined in criticising the minister. Sharma told the members that the commerce ministry, Planning Commission and Finance Ministry were speeding up the issue. Not satisfied with his reply, one MP even remarked that if only the minister had shown the same speed with which he moved the Cabinet over foreign direct investment in retail, weavers would have been in a lot better state now.

One BJP MP even mentioned that while the government was dragging its feet in implementing the budgeted amount, Sharma moved in lightening speed to please Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi by rushing to Varanasi and announce the Rs 3884 crore package for weavers in Uttar Pradesh alone.

“I reminded the minister that eight months have passed but the budgeted amount is yet to be spent. Only three months are left to spend the alloted money,” Chacko added.

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