Amid walk out by opposition Congress and BJP members, Odisha Assembly Thursday passed a resolution for setting up a Legislative Council in the state.
Speaker P K Amat announced that the resolution was passed as it got support of 104 of the 147 members of the Assembly while opposition Congress and BJP stayed away from the House.
Before going to vote, the Speaker sent two ministers - Prafulla Samal and Ananta Das - to request opposition members to return to the House and participate in the voting. As they turned down the request, a voting was conducted.
After casting the first vote in favour of the proposed legislative council, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said: "Odisha has picked up growth momentum and to further accelerate growth, wider consultations are necessary. In this context legislative council will be of great help."
However, the opposition called the state government's move for establishment of a Legislative Council, had intention to "rehabilitate" the ruling BJD leaders. They walked out of the House in protest.
The opposition alleged that the council formation has no meaningful use to the people of Odisha as it will only solve the political agenda of the ruling party.
"It is unfortunate that the state government is setting up a legislative council while a large number of youths have been waiting for jobs. The government will spent Rs 35 crore per annum towards the proposed legislative council which will be a burden on the state exchequer," Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said.
BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo also criticised the state government's resolution and said there was no need to set up a legislative council in Odisha keeping the state's population in mind.
Even big states like Madhya Pradesh has no such legislative council, he said and agreed to the Congress's view that it (council) would be used as a rehabilitation centre by the ruling party.
Even the progressive states like Punjab and Chhattishgarh do not have a legislative council. Only seven states in India have legislative council. "While 60 per cent of posts in the Odisha Legislative Assembly remain vacant since 2013 and the government is unable to fill them up, there is no need to create another set up," Singhdeo said.
Appealing the state government to reconsider its decision for setting up a legislative council, Sighdeo said: "It may prove costly for the state in the long run."
Earlier while moving the resolution, Parliamentary Affairs Minister B K Arukha said the proposed legislative council will help to strengthen democratic set up in the state.
Arukha said the council will help in conducting more discussion on important issues and serving the people of the state. He said seven states like Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharastra and Uttar Pradesh have legislative councils along with legislative assemblies.
The Minister said the proposed council will have 49 members and one-third (16) of the council will be elected by the states MLAs, another 1/3rd (16) by sitting members of local governments such as municipalities and Zilla Parishads, 1/12th (4) by an electorate of teachers and another 1/12th (4) by registered graduates.
The remaining nine members will be appointed by the Governor for distinguished services in various fields.
The council will function as a permanent house and its two-third members of will retire on every two years, the minister said adding that the council will function from Sardar Patel hall in Unit-II area.
The House also Thursday passed two bills - The Odisha Legislative Assembly Members' Salary, Allowance and Pension (Amendment) Bill- 2018 and The Odisha Ministers' Salaries and Allowance (Second Amendment) Bill-2018.
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