Chandigarh: Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira writes a letter to Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP to increase the proposed sittings of ensuing budget session to atleast 20.
I would like to bring to your kind notice that the number of sittings of Punjab Vidhan Sabha are decreasing every year, as a result of which Hon’ble members get very limited opportunity to express their views in the House. Important public issues are left unattended and members feel dissatisfied. Our AAP Legislature Party had been raising this matter earlier too. If we have a glance on the period from the year 1952 to 1977 we would find that the number of sittings held during that period was far greater than the number of those of present times. For instance the number of sittings held during the year 1960,1961,1962,1963,1964,1965 and 1966 were 55,37,44,54,56,67 and 32 respectively.
From the perusal of old debates of Punjab Vidhan Sabha it appears that S. Partap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, used to encourage the members to speak in the House and he himself used to reply the debate in the House for one to two hours. Thus members could find little opportunity to create ruckus in the House. Therefore, it is my humble request that the minimum number of sittings of the House during a Financial year should not be less than 40 as per rule 14-A of the Rules of procedure and conduct of Business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha so that Hon’ble members may get sufficient opportunity to raise Public issues in the House. It may help to lessen the chances of disorder in the House.
The Govt. may take plea against increase in sittings of the House that there is no business to transact.In this respect I would like to suggest that discussion may be held for a day or two on the burning issue of suicides being committed by farmers. Hon’ble members may suggest ways and means, rising above party level, to help farmers to come out of the vicious circle of loan and to check suicides by farmers.
There is hue and cry amongst the lacs of youth who feel cheated on the issue of employment. Although the Congress had promised one job per family (Har Ghar Naukri), yet not a single post of thousands of government jobs like doctors, teachers, pharmacists, patwari’s, clerks etc. has been filled during the last year.
Similarly, there is grave resentment amongst the people over the burning issue of illegal mining across the state. Despite tweets and serious instructions by the Chief Minister, mining mafia continues to rule the roost. Likewise there have been reports of extortion of “Goonda” tax by mafia backed by Congress leaders in the Bathinda oil refinery.
There is also grave resentment amongst the employees of the state. The Congress in its manifesto had promised to regularise the services of thousands of doctors, teachers etc, currently working on contractual basis. In the name of so called regularisation, the government is playing a cruel joke with them by offering them a meagre salary of Rs. 10,300 per month for three years.
Road accidents occur daily and over 6000 people die every year. The Govt. should bring some road-safety policy which may be discussed in the House.
In the proposed programme there are only 7 sittings in the Budget session, whereas it used to be passed in 13-14 sittings as per details given in the attached sheet. General discussion of the Budget for 5-6 days followed by discussion on selected Demands for grants for 6 to 8 days and discussion on Appropriation Bill for one day and the opposition used to get Lion’s Share in time to speak on the Bill. These facts are based on the facts and figures given in the attached statement.It is very unfortunate that presently no time is allocated for discussion on demands for grants and by doing so we are scuttling the democratic set up.
I have no hesitation to say that unfortunate happenings in the House during the last Budget Session may be the outcome of non-availability of time for Hon’ble member to express their views and vindicate their grievances in the House.
Haryana state which is much smaller in size has just held a 12 sittings budget session, while you are proposing only 7 sittings in the ensuing budget session, which is nothing but making mockery of the vital institution of Vidhan Sabha.
I would also suggest that like both Houses of Parliament, State Legislatures of Delhi, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, proceedings of the House may be telecast live. People will watch the behaviour of members, answerability of the Government and in impartiality of the chair, which may prompt all concerned to act with responsibility.
Therefore, I request that atleast 20 sittings be held in the forthcoming budget session so that elected representatives can air grievances of their respective constituencies with liberty and burning issues can be discussed threadbare.