Stating that his government was committed to the construction of Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday said that the state government had decided to file a fresh suit in the Supreme Court to get the Termination of Agreements Act passed by Punjab assembly declared as null and void.
Replying to the debate on the governor’s address in the ongoing budget session of the Vidhan Sabha, Khattar said that the state government had once again urged the central government that the solicitor general of India or attorney general should seek early hearing of Presidential reference, regarding validity of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, which had been pending for long in the Supreme Court.
He said that in 2004, when the then Congress government in Punjab had brought the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Haryana BJP had strongly protested against the proposed legislation. Recalling the events, Khattar said that five BJP MLAs namely Krishan Pal Gurjar, Ved Kapoor Chand, Veena Chibbar, Kanwar Pal, Sarita Narain and Chander Bhatia had also resigned from the House to register their protest against the bill.
Khattar took on the former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, saying that one could gauge Hooda’s interest on the issue as he (Hooda) had recently released a book written by former advocate general of Punjab Harbhagwan Singh in which he had claimed that he advised then chief minister Amarinder Singh to bring Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill in Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
DEFENDS LAND BILL, TAKES ON HOODA
Khattar said that the land acquisition bill of the central government was pro-farmers and that it was inappropriate on the part of opposition leaders to spread false propaganda in this regard. Stating that the previous UPA government had brought the Land Acquisition Act 2013, which was implemented from January 1, 2014 and that the then central government published the draft rules on January 1, 2013 and invited objections from public on it.
Questioning Hooda, he pointed out that Hooda had written letters to the Central government, seeking amendments in these rules and had demanded relaxation to infrastructural projects from these rules and the Act. The then revenue minister of the state had also raised demand for amendment in the Act in the meeting of revenue ministers.
Khattar said that Hooda was well aware of the fact that after the implementation of this Act on January 1, 2014, they would not be able to acquire even a single inch of land. He said the process for acquisition of hundreds of acres of land was carried out one day prior to the implementation of this Act on December 31, 2013.
FREE LAPTOPS TO SC STUDENTS
Meanwhile, Khattar announced to give free laptops (tablets) to the students belonging to scheduled caste (SC) families to enable them to get technical education. Under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Programme, he said free bicycles would be given to girl students belonging to SC families. Also, he announced that they would be given books worth of `1,000 for diploma courses and of `2,500 for graduate and post-graduate courses.
Khattar also announced that the students with disabilities studying in school and colleges would now get minimum scholarship of `700 per month instead of `400 per month.
Chief minister ML Khattar showed his poetic traits on several occasions. He began his reply to the governor’s address, saying that he did not speak much but his silence must not be taken as his weakness. In a lighter vein, he said “If you do not understand my silence, you will not understand my words’’. Later he went on to recite, “Hum to dariya hain, apni raah bana hi lenge, tum gar patthar ho, to dekhiye kidhar jaoge (I am a river, I will make a way for myself; if you are stones, let’s see where you will go).”
Moments later, Khattar said that though the BJP MLAs did not have experience of ruling the state, they had the will to serve. In chaste Haryanavi, he quipped, “Hum na langadi marenge, naa maran dyange (We will not be unfair while playing and would not allow anyone else to be unfair either”.
Health minister Anil Vij could be heard repeatedly telling Congress MLAs that if they would continue to ignore the farmers’ interests, they would be seen in the visitors’ gallery after the next polls.
The issue of the changing of plaques in Haryana Vidhan Sabha evoked interesting jibes among the ruling BJP and opposition Congress and INLD after leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala said that Congress leaders even got plaques fixed on renovations too. “Ab agar Vidhan Sabha ka carpet change karvate to kya yahan bhi sign board laga dete (Had they changed the carpets in the House, would they have put their plaques on these too?)” he quipped.
At this point, Vij too took a dig at former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and said, “House mein achche logon ki photo lag sakti hai, aap jaison ki nahin” (House can have photographs of good people, but not those like you). On this, Hooda retorted that he would live for long in the hearts of people not because of the photos but because of his good work.
Speaker Kanwar Pal had the House in splits when he asked BJP MLA Kamal Gupta to address him and not the House during the discussion on the governor’s address. “Aap aam sabha nahi kar rahe ho (You are not addressing a public rally),” he told Gupta who began with ‘Vande Matram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.