QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED TO: CREDIBILITY OF ASSEMBLY CRIPPLED

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Leader of Opposition Bhupindar Singh asked the Speaker on July 9 to ensure that the executive does not escape by using obliging ministers in hoodwinking the House under set terms of evasion. The term “Data under collection” is often used to evade answering to questions put by members in Orissa Legislative Assembly.

Veteran member Amar Prasad Satapathy had put a simple question seeking the number of lower schoolteachers that have retired within last five years. He is a former minister and a member of NCP that sides with BJD in Orissa. He had put the question before clear two weeks as required under the Rules. To his dismay, “Data under Collection” was the answer. Satpathy raised the issue in the Zero hour and expressed deep anguish over the Minister’s stark inability to steer his department into the simple question. The answer was absolutely evasive and reflected the reluctance of bureaucracy to answer to questions raised by members in the Assembly. This cripples the credibility of the house, he said.

Members Anup Sai and Pratap Sarangi came down heavily on the Government for the evasive techniques habitually adopted.

Senior leader of the ruling BJD, Dr. Nrusingh Sahu also expressed similar concern as he reprimanded the government for collaborating with the recalcitrant officialdom in habitual misleading of the Assembly. “Data under collection” is the common answer to almost all the important questions asked by members. He said that this farce should stop and the executive must be made answerable to the Assembly.

Speaker directed the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to ensure that questions are promptly and properly answered by the Government even as he reserved the ruling.

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