Disruptions in the proceedings over the Mantralaya fire gave a stormy start to the monsoon session of the state legislature on Monday.
Reacting to the opposition’s allegations of suspected sabotage in the June 21 blaze, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told the assembly that he would answer all the questions and also inform the house about the state’s preparedness in running the government and handling fire-like disasters. The state government has agreed to discuss the issue in the legislative assembly on Tuesday.
The fire at the Mantralaya that claimed five lives destroyed important documents, thus, paralysing the administration to a great extent. The incident exposed the lack of disaster management in the state headquarters. It also saw various departments blaming each other for the incident.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led opposition condemned the government over the fire. They staged a protest at the entrance of the Vidhan Bhavan and also created a ruckus in the lower house later. Opposition leader Eknath Khadse demanded that the day’s business be scrapped to hold a debate on the issue. But, speaker Dilip Walse Patil rejected the demand.
In the subsequent chaos, the proceedings were adjourned twice. Khadse, Shiv Sena group leader Subhash Desai and MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar demanded to know the cause of the fire.
Khadse said: “We also suspect a conspiracy because many documents related to inquiries and other reports were destroyed. It is not just about one building, but is about the safety of all buildings across the state.”