Differences between members of ruling SAD and its alliance BJP Friday came to the fore in Punjab assembly on the 'motor vehicle taxation' bill, even as the House passed 16 bills amidst empty opposition benches today.
The speaker withdrew the bill after opposition. The assembly passed 16 bills, including 'Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling bill', 'DAV University bill' and 'Desh Bhagat University bill' in around two hours of discussions.
Expressing concern over Punjab's youths getting trapped by illegal travel agents and landing in jails in foreign countries, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, while introducing the 'Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling bill' said, now it would be mandatory for the travel agents to be registered from the state government.
"The authorities can anytime verify the credentials and registration of travel agents and any agent found illegal will be penalised for three to seven years of imprisonment," he said adding, "the offence will be non bailable now."
Some SAD and BJP MLAs, including former minister Manoranjan Kalia, expressed reservations over certain provisions in 'Punjab Motor Vehicles Taxation (amendment) bill 2012' introduced by transport minister Ajit Singh Kohar in the assembly.
Kalia was of the view that the tax charged on commercial vehicles entering into Punjab must be fixed on certain parameters including cost of the vehicle.
Sensing that some ruling members are expressing displeasure over certain provisions in the bill, Leader of the House and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal urged the speaker to withdraw it.
"I think there is some printing mistakes in the bill," deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said urging speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal to withdraw it.
The objective of the bill was to increase the rate of motor vehicles tax on transfer of all types of motor vehicles, discourage tourist sleeper coach buses to ply illegally in Punjab, and to provide tax collection centers to the owner of tourist vehicles of other states while entering in the state.
Besides, the assembly passed bills related to DAV and Desh Bhagat universities.
SAD MLA Pawan Kumar Tinnu said that the state government should keep a watch that the educational institutions do not turn out to be "shops".
Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka assured the assembly that the government would ensure that such institutions do not become "money minting shops."
Besides, he told that in the near future the state government would ensure that such universities keep 10 per cent of total seats for poor and needy students.