It was supposed to be a session on clearing the much-awaited proposal of MCD trifurcation, but Assembly proceedings could not take place on Wednesday with the Opposition demanding a discussion on FDI retail in the city.
As soon as House proceedings began, BJP MLAs demanded an assurance from the chief minister that foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector will not be allowed in Delhi.
“The government is not concerned about the welfare of the small traders. With the entry of foreign companies, smaller shops and establishments will suffer. We will not allow this to happen,” said VK Malhotra, Delhi’s leader of Opposition.
The House was adjourned thrice within 30 minutes and Speaker Yoganand Shastri’s all efforts to allow a discussion on the Bill were fruitless. The BJP MLAs’ demand for the discussion rejected by the Speaker.
However, in between all the adjournments and sloganeering, urban development minister Raj Kumar Chauhan tabled the bill seeking trifurcation of the MCD. But as the Opposition continued to demand a special discussion on FDI, the House was adjourned for the day.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit later defended the Centre’s FDI move and said, “This move is not detrimental to the interests of consumers, traders and farmers.
It is a well thought-out decision which will take farmers out of the fluctuating situation and ensure them the best remunerative prices of their products. It will facilitate modern technology to help the common man get essential commodities at low rates.”
Farmers will also get good quality seeds apart from secured assurance on bulk purchase of their products for years together by these companies. “It will also ensure that the items will not perish due to non availability of air-conditioned storage,” Dikshit added.
The home ministry had last week approved the Delhi government’s proposal to trifurcate the MCD ahead of civic polls in April next year. Once the Bill is approved by the Assembly it will be sent to President Pratibha Patil for her final approval.
As per the proposal, the new civic bodies in north and south Delhi will have 104 wards each while that in east Delhi will be the smallest with 64 wards.
A directorate of municipal services would also be set up to coordinate the functioning of the three new bodies. In addition to this, the Centre has also approved the proposal for increasing reservation of seats for women in the civic body to 50% from the current 33%.
BJP MLAs too said that they will not oppose the trifurcation Bill though they were against the hurried manner in which it has been done.