Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Jharkhand BJP disrupts assembly, demands declaration of state as drought-hit

Agriculture minister hints at decision in mid-Augus

Ranchi, August 1: The second day of Jharkhand Assembly’s monsoon session was marked by noisy scenes as opposition BJP members created an uproar demanding that the government declare the state as drought-hit, prompting the speaker to adjourn the proceedings, first till 12.30 pm and then till 2 pm.

As soon as the House assembled around 11 am on Monday, BJP members, donning traditional attire of farmers, trooped in the well of the House with their demand, disrupting the Question Hour.

The ruckus increased manifold as Chief Minister Hemant Soren stepped inside the House. Despite assurance from Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahato and rural development minister Alamgir Alam that a special discussion is scheduled on the matter in the second half, the BJP MLAs continued the protest.

The speaker then adjourned the proceedings till 12.30 pm. Later, as members sat for the proceedings for the second time at 12.35 pm, finance minister Rameshwar Oraon tabled a supplementary budget of Rs 3,436.56 crore for 2022-23 even as there was no let up in the protest by the saffron party legislators. Unable to control the agitation, Mahto adjourned the House for a second time till 2 pm.

The speaker, during the start of the six-day monsoon session on July 29, had drawn the members’ attention to the plight of farmers amid the drought-like situation owing to the scanty rainfall.

The state’s rainfall deficit is around 40 per cent. Of the 24 districts, 12 have received less than normal rainfall. When we sit for discussion on several issues, we have to include the issue of farmers’ plight so that a meaningful solution can be reached in this House, he had said.

State agriculture minister Badal Patralekh gave an indication to this effect while responding on behalf of the government during a special discussion in the house on drought.

Earlier, the minister expressed his solidarity with all those legislators who participated in the discussion and expressed their concern over the less rainfall in the state.

The minister said that the government is also worried about this and the issue has been discussed with the chief minister in the last cabinet meeting. “This is not the first time a situation of drought has come, earlier also Jharkhand remained in the grip of drought and famine,” he added.

The chief minister and the disaster management department have been apprised of the situation by the agriculture department, the minister further said.

Informing the house about the ground reality he said so far, crop cover has been done on 6,89,000 hectares while the cultivable land in the state is 27 lakh hectares. So, he said, the state has achieved 35 per cent of the target so far. Rainfall is less than 50 per cent, he said.

The minister said that the situation is not good and the government is soon going to hold a meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister.

“The government is also working on an alternate cropping scheme. Arrangements are being made for five lakh new ration cards. ‘Didi Kitchen’ will be started again if needed. The government will decide after assessing the situation on drought. Although the decision on drought is taken in the month of October, but in special circumstances, drought is also announced in the month of August,” the minister said.

State education minister Jagarnath Mahto developed chest pain and breathing problem during the assembly session on Monday and was admitted to Paras Hospital in Ranchi where his condition is stated to be stable. 

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