*Sloganeering, protest disrupt Question Hour
JAMMU, Jan 30: The opposition today created massive uproar in the Legislative Assembly over the ‘failure’ of the Government to reach the snow-affected people in Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu region and staged walkout after the Speaker disallowed the adjournment motion moved by the National Conference to suspend business and discuss the post-snowfall situation.
As soon as the House began proceedings, National Conference MLAs started pressing for holding discussion on situation that has erupted due to fresh spell of heavy snowfall in entire Kashmir valley and several hilly areas of Jammu region. “The situation has turned worst but the Government has failed to reach the snow-affected people as such adjournment motion should be accepted”, they demanded.
“The official machinery has completely failed on all fronts despite directions from the Government and people are suffering in the absence of essential commodities and breakdown of road links”, the National Conference MLAs Ali Mohammad Sagar and Mian Altaf Ahmad said while asking the Speaker Kavinder Gupta to allow the adjournment motion and suspend the business of the House for detailed discussion on the post-snowfall situation
As there was no response from the Chair, several National Conference MLAs led by Ali Mohammad Sagar and Devender Singh Rana moved to the Well of the House. They were also joined by the Congress MLAs, who too started pressing for allowing adjournment motion.
“Snow clearance is going on at a snail’s pace…. there is no power supply is major parts of Valley and above all there is shortage of essential commodities besides breakdown of road communication”, Sagar said, adding “no Minister has visited the Valley to assess the situation and the directions of the Government to the officers have failed to show any positive results on ground”.
Another NC MLA Devender Singh Rana said that not only in Kashmir valley the situation has turned worst even in hilly areas of Jammu region due to snowfall. “The prevailing situation has exposed that there was no preparedness on the part of Government to deal with the crisis”, he added.
Congress MLA from Banihal Vikar Rasool said, “the situation is worrisome in my constituency as snow has been lifted only from main town while as no attention has been paid towards the interior areas thereby restricting the movement of people”. He further said that there was no power, no water, no ration and medical facilities in major parts of Banihal and accused the Government of being mute spectator.
Congress MLA from Kargil, Asgar Ali Karbalaie, while accusing the Government of being non-serious towards the difficulties being faced by the people due to heavy snowfall, said, “even roads in the main Kargil town are still covered with snow and entire district is reeling under acute power crisis”.
Amidst massive uproar from the National Conference and Congress MLAs, Speaker Kavinder Gupta said, “House has already discussed the issue two-three times and even Government has given reply as such adjournment motion cannot be allowed”.
“Even if some MLAs want to highlight the difficulties of their respective area because of snowfall, they can raise the same while participating in discussion on the grants of the departments under the charge of Chief Minister but for that you have to allow the Question Hour to proceed smoothly”, Speaker further said.
But protest from the National Conference and Congress MLAs continued and they even resorted to sloganeering. “Nakara Sarkar Hai Hai” and “Logon Ki Dushman Sarkar Hai Hai” rented the House. Amidst sloganeering, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri said that Government has already replied to the issue and opposition should allow the Question Hour. But his statement too failed to restore order in the House.
After disrupting the Question Hour for 15 minutes, National Conference and Congress MLAs staged walkout.
Later, while talking to media-persons outside the Legislature Complex, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar said, “Government is taking measures on war-footing basis to restore the essential services disrupted because of heavy and recurrent snowfall in various parts of the State”, adding “the administration has been mobilized and men and machinery are on the job to restore the essential services and almost 90 percent of essential services have been restored in the snow-bound areas”.
Responding to the opposition charge in this regard, Naeem Akhtar, who is also the State Government Spokesman, said, “it is not for the first time that Kashmir and other parts of the State are grappling with post-snowfall situation”, adding “there have been snowfalls earlier also and similar situations have arisen which have been and are being tackled by the administration effectively”.
He disclosed that strict instructions have been issued to the concerned departments especially R&B, PHE and PDD to ensure restoration of public utilities in the affected areas. “The Government has directed all the concerned Deputy Commissioners to carry out snow clearance operations on war-footing basis and ensure restoration of electricity in all the affected areas”, he added.