Legislators accuse government of discrimination

‘Don’t Have Any Say In Formulation Of District Plans’

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Oct 5: Cutting across party lines, Members of Legislative Council Friday came down heavily on the coalition government for “discriminating and ignoring them while formulating the district plans”. The members of the Council minced no words in castigating the government for “not treating them at par with the Members of Legislative Assembly” and demanded that Chairman should pass directions to the government for ensuring equal say for the members of the upper house in decision-making process.
As MLC, Muhammad Ashraf Mir disputed the response of Minister of State for Finance and Planning Manohar Lal Sharma to his supplementary question, pandemonium broke in the House with other legislators joining the issue.
“We are not being consulted when district plans are prepared and your reply is not based on the facts and I strongly contest your claim,” Mir told Sharma.
As Mir and Sharma were engaged in verbal spat, MLC of Panthers Party, Syed Rafiq Shah alleged that the members were being humiliated in District Board meetings by the Ministers, who happen to be their chairmen.
“During the Board meeting of Kupwara, the chairman referred me  as small and termed MLAs as biggies,” he alleged and added that not a single recommendation submitted by him was accommodated in the plan.
Soon, other legislators Syed Asgar Ali, Khalid Najib Suharwardy, Jehangir Mir and others accused government of taking them for-granted in decision-making process.
Seeing his junior cornered by the legislators from both opposition as well as treasury benches, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ali Muhammad Sagar came to his rescue and said that there is no discrimination with MLCs.
“We increased Constituency Development Fund of MLCs to Rs 1.50 crore at par with MLAs and provided Rs 10 lakh Panchayat fund to you like MLAs,” he told MLCs.
“It is very unfortunate that things are projected in a wrong way. If there is  an allegation, it should be supported by justification, but don’t generalize things,” he said
As Chairman allowed discussion on the subject, Sagar virtually objected to it, prompting heated exchange of words between him and PDP legislator Murtaza Khan.
“You should face the facts and you are not confronted by one member, but by many members on the subject. You are nobody to give directions to the chair and this is against the law,” Khan told Sagar.
“In my native district of Poonch, MLAs and MLCs were not taken on board while preparing the district plan,” he added.
Murtaza also moved a motion under rule 53 of the rules of business of the House to seek discussion on the subject on any day.
Legislators from Congress and National Conference also flayed government for giving them “less space” in decision-making process.
“Don’t ruin this institution and there is need of taking all MLAs and MLCs on board in developmental process,” Congress lawmaker Jehangir Mir said.
NC lawmaker Khalid Najib Suharwardy also spoke on similar lines.
“You (ministers) shouldn’t be irritated by it (debate) and nobody is talking irresponsibly here,” he said, adding that laws and circulars of Planning & Development Department are not being followed on the ground.
After being confronted by legislators from treasury benches as well, Manhor Lal Sharma said there is problem in accommodating MLCs properly as they don’t have definite constituencies.
“We are trying to accommodate the demands of MLCs and if there is any shortcoming, we will address it,” he added.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 5 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 5 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 6 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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