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Unruly scenes in Punjab Assembly over Amritsar train tragedy

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Press Trust of India Chandigarh
The Punjab Assembly witnessed unruly scenes on Monday between members of ruling Congress and the Akali-BJP over the Amritsar train accident last year where 60 people died.
On the last day of the budget session, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislator Bikram Singh Majithia sought to draw the attention of the revenue minister towards non-payment of the compensation to the victims of the accident that occurred on Dusshera.
Majithia accused the state government of cheating with families of the victims by not providing them government jobs that were promised to them.
Intervening in the matter, Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Sidhu, in whose constituency the accident had occurred, took on Majithia and claimed that he had been supporting eight families of victims by giving each of them Rs 8,000 per month from his own pocket.
Sidhu asked the Akalis whether they had ever given compensation to any victim out of their own pockets.
SAD chief Sukhbir Badal asked the government whether there had been any arrest in the Amritsar train accident so far, leading to heated exchanges between members of the Congress with the SAD and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Replying to the SAD president, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said it was the government's job to take care of the families of the victims. "It was your (Sukhbir) question was anybody arrested? Let me ask you one thing... there have been so many incidents wherein several people died involving Orbit (owned by Badal family) buses. Anybody was arrested?" Singh asked.
Badal said all the drivers of those buses were arrested. Then, the Akalis rushed to the well of the House and raised slogans against the government, following which they staged a walkout.
Taking a dig at Badal, state minister Sukhjinder Randhawa demanded that the owners of such buses should also be arrested.
Meanwhile, the chief minister assured the House of all possible measures to check noise pollution, including strict action against the violators.
Reiterating his government's commitment to provide students with a congenial environment to study, Singh promised strict action against those who violate pollution norms by using of loudspeakers, DJ and other musical instruments, especially before and during examination days of the students.
Meanwhile, the assembly passed the Punjab Appropriation Bill, Punjab One-Time Voluntary Disclosure and Settlement of Violations of the Buildings Constructed in Violation of the Building Bye-laws Bill; Amritsar Walled City (Recognition of Usage) Amendment Bill, Punjab Legislative Assembly (Salaries and Allowances of Members) Amendment Bill and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2019.
When the bill regarding the salaries and allowances was presented, the Aam Aadmi Party members stormed to the well of the House, seeking inclusion of movable properties in the bill.
The bill will make all the members to declare their immovable properties in the month of January of every calendar year.
Earlier, the AAP members staged a walkout protest against not being allowed to speak on demands for grants relating to budget estimates.
Later, the House was adjourned sine die.

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First Published: Feb 25 2019 | 10:45 PM IST

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