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Government to consider lifting relaxations

THE STATE Government today agreed to consider lifting relaxations given to tribals for production and storage of liquor. Industries and Commercial Tax Minister Babulal Gaur gave the assurance during the Question Hour in the Assembly following directions of Speaker Ishwardas Rohani.
None | By HT Correspondent, Bhopal
PUBLISHED ON MAR 24, 2006 02:21 PM IST

THE STATE Government today agreed to consider lifting relaxations given to tribals for production and storage of liquor. Industries and Commercial Tax Minister Babulal Gaur gave the assurance during the Question Hour in the Assembly following directions of Speaker Ishwardas Rohani.

“Consumption of liquor was leading to downfall of tribal community and the Government should make efforts to prevent it,” Rohani observed, after majority of members supported a demand by BJP member Dev Singh Sayyam, who sought to know if the relaxations for tribals to produce and hoard liquor would be lifted.

It was tribal BJP MLA from Mandla Shivraj Shah who managed to get support from the entire House to prevail upon the Government to review its decision to allow the tribals to have 45 litres of liquor on the occasion of social and religious

The relaxations, allowing tribals to hoard 4.5 lt per individual, 15 lt per family and 45 lt for religious functions were provided as a part of vote-bank politics, Sayyam alleged, demanding that it should end in larger interest of tribals.

Gaur claimed that benefits to tribals were in accordance with Centre’s notification. It was objected to by Congress member R K Singh, who claimed that the Union Government never made it mandatory for the state governments to extend the relaxations.

As other members, including Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi seconded Sayyam’s demand, Rohani asked the Government to consider it.

The tribal BJP MLA from Mandla itself Devsingh Saiyam sought to know through a question if the State Government had allowed the tribals to store liquor and if it had not affected adversely the tribals society.

Minister for Commercial Tax Babulal Gaur replied that the tribals were free to make liquor and consume it for domestic consumption and on the occasions of social and religious functions.

They were not free to sell the liquor and they could possess 4.5 litres per head or 15 liter per family. In special circumstances they could possess 45 litres of liquor per family on social and religious functions. However, the Gram Sabha was empowered to reduce the amount of possession.

Asking a supplementary question, Shivraj Shah alleged that the provision was incorporated in the Act by the Congress to influence the tribals for the sake of votes and it cast an evil effect on the tribals society. He sought to know if the Government would do away with the provision.

On this, Gaur said the provision was incorporated as per the Central Government’s instructions. Gaur read out the provision as well.

Intervening in the matter the Congress’ Rajendra Singh said the provision was not mandatory one. The Congress’ Govind Singh said the Congress never wanted the tribals to consume liquor.

Speaker Ishwardas Rohani instructed Gaur to examine the provision carefully given sensitivity of the matter and look into the demand if the provision could be done away with. Gaur gave his nod to the same.

Budget session to end today
THE STATE Assembly budget session, which commenced on February 14, would come to an end tomorrow. The budget session was scheduled to come to end on April 5.

The official sources said as no government or non-government business remained to be transacted, the business advisory committee this morning decided to curtail the session. Speaker Ishwardas Rohani chaired the meeting.

Those who attended the meeting included Deputy Speaker Hajarilal Raghuvanshi, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi, Minister for Finance Raghavji, Minister for PWD Kailash Vijayvargiya, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Narottam Mishra, Minister for Jail Antarsingh Arya, MLAs Sudha Jain, Indrajeet Kumar, Dr Govind Singh and Bundela Vijay Bahadur Singh.

Speaker’s directives
SPEAKER ISHWARDAS Rohani today asked the State Government to ensure that the Collectors fixed the registration rates of land after taking into consideration the public representatives’ views also.

The BJP MLA from Indore, Mahendra Hardia, said during question hour that the irregularities in fixation of registration rates resulted in a lot of litigation against the government. Commercial Tax Minister Babulal Gaur said appropriate instructions would be issued to the Collectors to invite the public representatives also in such meetings held to fix the registration rates of lands.

Assembly PS post formalised
THE POST of Principal Secretary in the State Assembly Secretariat was formalised today with the House passing the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat Services (Amendment) Bill. Creation of post of the PS would be held in retrospective effect from November 11, 2002, the time since it was practically implemented in the secretariat.

The passage of bill was however not smooth. CPM MLA Ramlakhan Sharma and Samajwadi Party MLAs Vanshmani Verma and K K Singh staged a walkout, opposing the ‘dictatorial’ clause of removing any employee of the secretariat including the PS ‘without citing any reasons’.

The amendment bill mentions that the employees who have completed 50 years of age or 20 years of service were liable to be removed with three-month notice or three months of salary, without ascribing any reasons.  Participating in the discussion on the bill, Sharma said that the clause was undemocratic and showed dictatorial attitude of the government that would serve to gag the employees of the Assembly secretariat. 

The bill was passed anyway leading Sharma and later the Samajwadi members to walk out in protest. Congress’s Govind Singh, while supporting the bill also mentioned that this particular clause should be scrapped.

The buzz outside the House was that the clause was specifically put in to pave way for a particular person as principal secretary. However, replying to the discussion, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra said that the amendments were as per rules and same as that proposed in 2002.

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