Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir Thursday came under attack from members of both treasury and Opposition benches over discrimination in funds utilization. The government was earlier cornered over situation arising in Kashmir after hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and killing of a youth forces firing at Baramulla.
The situation got worse when Panthers Party leader Harsh Dev Singh along with other party MLAs expressing dissatisfaction over reply of the Planning Minister Ajay Sadhotra held dharna into the well of the House demanding justice to bad pockets in backward areas. The sloganeering continued till Speaker Mubarak Gul assured them that they will be allowed to speak on the issue.
Referring to the minister’s reply to a question by Peerzada Mansoor Hussain about the release of funds, panthers party leader said that this House had last year kept Rs 50 crore for taking up works in bad pockets. Of that money, the minister said the government has spent Rs 20 crore there so far, he pointed out and asked where the remaining Rs 30 crore have gone? “You tell us where you have diverted Rs 30 crore?” he asked pointing out that no works have been taken up there even when less than a month is left in the culmination of the current financial year.
He was joined by Congress member Sansar Chand Bhagat who complained of no work being undertaken in his Chenani Assembly constituency. This was substantiated by another Congress member M N Niaz who pointed out that the Planning Minister had convened a meeting of some legislators a few days ago and told them that 50 per cent of the funds kept for bad pockets have been spent. “Where have the rest of the funds gone?” he questioned.
Niaz sought raising the funds from present Rs 50 to Rs 100 crore for bad pocket areas in the coming financial year. Two other members on the treasury benches and a PDP member joined the issue alleging non-initiation of development works in their respective areas.
The minister tried to pacify the agitating members saying that works worth Rs 20 crore have been completed and works for remaining Rs 30 crore were in progress. Though they did not appear satisfied, the question hour came to an end.
Earlier, as the House assembled, BJP member Durga Dass was on his feet accusing the government of delay in releasing compensation to farmers who have been unable to cultivate their land as it lie ahead of the barbed wire fence along the international border in Kathua district.
The government is not paying any heed to the affected farmers who have been sitting on dharna at Hiranagar for the last six days, he said. The Kathua district administration had got Rs 5 crore for compensation to farmers who were unable to cultivate their fields as it lie ahead of the barbed wire fence along the international border in Hiranagar tehsil. Though the money has been lying with the administration for the last five years, no compensation has been paid to the affected farmers, he complained.
Opposition members from BJP, Panters Party and Jammu State Morcha, also joined the issue demanding government to do justice with farmers living in border areas.
Finding no response from the government, the Panthers Party members came into the well of the House raising slogans. After nearly 15 minutes, they staged walk out from the House.