The Lok Sabha Secretariat and the Delhi government were at loggerheads on Wednesday over the issue of MPs exemption from the Odd Even Scheme, with a senior Parliament official snubbing the AAP government over its decision to discontinue the ‘MP Special’ bus service.
Speaking at a hurriedly called press conference, D Bhalla, secretary in the Lok Sabha Secretariat, also reminded the Delhi government that the Parliament was “paying” for the bus service being provided by the Delhi government.
“We had not made any request to them (the AAP government) to provide any such help. It was their offer. It is ridiculous to say that they have been doing this or that for the MPs. We do not need any mercy. And the bus service provided by the Delhi government was not free of cost,” he said.
The Parliament Secretariat was supposed to pay Rs 12,000 per day for each bus. Since it was not used, we said no to them. “Is the act of MPs coming to Parliament to discuss bills is not important?. Whether MPs come to attend Parliament or standing Committees, they come here to take decisions related to people of the country, which includes the people of Delhi,” Bhalla added, wondering whether the members did not deserve exemption” from the Odd Even Scheme.
At the same time, Bhalla said, “We, however, leave it to the sagacity of Delhi government. We are not angry with Delhi government. Did any MP say that he was against the Odd Even. We welcome the Odd Even Scheme.”
Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Tezpur, Assam, RP Sarma today came to Parliament on a horse. However, Delhi police stopped him near Rail Bhavan and did not allow the horse to proceed towards Parliament. There was also a wooden board hanging from the neck of the horse that read “pollution free vehicle”, an apparent criticism of the Odd Even Scheme.
When asked by journalists, Sarma said that he had an even number vehicle and cannot afford to buy another odd one to travel on odd days. Replying to questions about the availability of buses to ferry MPs from their homes, he said there are “no buses” and insisted that there are “only few vehicles” to ferry the MPs, that prompted him to come to Parliament on a horse.
Six Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses were converted to MP Specials to ferry MPs in view of odd even restrictions in the wake of the current session of Parliament beginning Monday.
The Delhi government, however, scrapped the bus service on Wednesday following poor response from Parliamentarians for two straight days.