Speaker, Opposition leader face off in assembly
Ruckus over objectionable comment by Haribhau Bagde ended only after he expunged it
The state legislature witnessed rare scenes on Wednesday, when the Speaker of the Assembly and the Opposition leader faced off in the lower house, over the former's remark on the Congress. The lower house stopped work for an hour over it, as the Congress MLAs scaled the Speaker's dais and lifted the sceptre. The presiding officer (Speaker Haribhau Bagde had left the House) continued with business as usual even as Congress members, including Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, joined his party legislators on the dais to protest the remark. The ruckus ended only when Bagde returned and later expunged his statement.
On Wednesday, Congress legislator from Mumbai, Arif Naseem Khan sought Bagde's permission to speak, but the latter did not allow him. A frustrated Khan made some gestures that a BJP minister objected to, and asked the Speaker to correct him.The Speaker responded, making a remark that raised Congress members' hackles. They ran up to the dais and raised slogans against Bagde. Senior journalists and members of the House said they had never witnessed such an incident before.
Vinod Tawde defends amendment on fee regulation
School Education Minister Vinod Tawde defended a new amendment on fee regulation that provides for a hike in fees by seeking the approval of the executive committee of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), or by a simple majority of parents of 76% of students. The minister said empowering a single parent, as was the previous arrangement, to object to the fee hike was unreasonable. The new law makes it mandatory for any challenge to a fee hike to be made by at least 25% of the affected parents to the Divisional Fee Regulatory Committee (DFRC). Tawde said the students whose parents don't have the money (to pay the hefty fee) were the government schools' responsibility, but insisted that the amended law also ensured that those who could afford the fees were not looted. Denying allegations that the amendment weakens PTAs, Tawde said the parents were given more representation in the association.
Maratha quota stalemate continues in Assembly
The stalemate over Maratha reservation continued as the government was questioned why it hadn't placed the Action Taken Report (ATR) in the state backward commission recommendation on Wednesday. As the two Houses worked late into the night, the anxious members waited for the ATR. However, some members of the ministers' group that has been asked to prepare a law said they have recommended 16% quota for Marathas. They said the Bill would come up for approval on November 29, along with the ATR. The committee sought the advice of State Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni. The winter session has just two more days to go. Most of the sitting time was lost to the ruckus over the reservations issue. Vikhe-Patil wanted to know the law/rule that bars the government from tabling the BC Commission report. He accused the government of delaying tactics and denying the Opposition an opportunity to debate the recommendation for facilitating a law that should stand legal scrutiny. "It will be the government's responsibility if the quota is challenged in the court and gets scrapped," he cautioned the chief minister and his team.
Compensation for tiger attacks to be raised
When the killing of tigress T1 or Avni came up for discussion, Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar spoke on expected lines. The minister said the decision was unavoidable and taken because the tigress was a threat not only to humans but also to other tigers. NCP's Jayant Patil questioned the government in the killing through a calling attention motion. Mungantiwar announced that the compensation for the kin of the victims of tiger attacks would be increased from R10 lakh to R15 lakh. The owners will now get R60,000 per bovine killed, he said.
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