Golden opportunity lost in Belgaum, say Opposition

'Govt let N-K down by side-stepping region's issues'

Golden opportunity lost in Belgaum, say Opposition

Opposition parties, the JD(S) and the BJP, on Friday slammed the State government for ‘disappointing’ the  people of north Karnataka by not allowing much discussion on various issues plaguing the region in the winter session of the legislature held in the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (SVS).

The people had high hopes on the Siddaramaiah government, in the belief that it would address their problems during the session. Instead, the government let them down by giving only elusive answers, Leader of the Opposition H D Kumaraswamy told reporters.

BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said the north Karnataka people were hoping that the government would make a big announcement for the development of the region. But nothing of that sort happened. Though the BJP raised issues related to the region, including those of sugar cane farmers and Kalasa-Banduri project, the government did not give effective answers. Even the principal opposition, the JD(S), did not cooperate with the BJP, he said.

As many as 13 bills were approved in both House in the last 10 days. On the concluding day, the Assembly was adjourned after paying tributes to former South African president Nelson Mandela. Prominent among the bills cleared were an ordinance replacement bill to extend the cutoff date for implementing Sakrama scheme (regularisation of unauthorised constructions in urban areas), amendment bills to regulate the functioning of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and relax rules pertaining to operation of stone crushing units. The government took pride in bringing the Karnataka Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan (Planning, Allocation and Utilisation of Financial Resources) Bill, 2013. Both the Houses passed this bill.

However, opposition parties in the Upper House, where the BJP the JD(S) are in a majority, forced the government to defer discussion on a bill that would enable the government to regularise unauthorised residential houses of the urban poor. This apart, both Houses had a elaborate discussion on the clarificatory order by the Krishna River Water Disputes Tribunal.

The first legislature session of the Siddaramaiah government in Belgaum was marred by the tragic death of a sugar cane farmer in front of the SVS. The initial few days of the session witnessed a slew of protests from various sections, especially sugar cane farmers. The government was forced to announce a support price of Rs 150 per tonne of sugar cane.

Former chief minister and KJP leader B S Yeddyurappa stole the show on the first day by taking up an indefinite dharna in the well of the Assembly over the controversial Shaadi Bhagya scheme. He, however, gave up his protest, in order to extend support to sugar cane farmers.

Santosh Lad, who was forced to resign as minister before the commencement of the session for his alleged involvement in illegal mining, did not attend the session. Two independent MLAs G Nagendra and Satish Sail, who had secured conditional bail to attend the session from the CBI special court, attended the session briefly. The CBI is probing their alleged involvement in illegal mining.

Demand for next session

A section of legislators from north Karnataka have been pressuring the government to hold the first session of the legislature in 2014 - which commences with the Governor’s address to both Houses - at the SVS. Senior Congress MLA Basavaraj Rayareddy has even submitted a memorandum to the chief minister in this regard. The government has, however, not taken any decision so far.

The government is seriously exploring ways to make use of SVS round the year, by shifting some of its departments and boards and corporations related to north Karnataka region there.The chief minister was not present in the legislature on Friday as he was in Delhi to attend a meeting convened by the Union agriculture minister.

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