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Govt to extend Assembly’s Autumn session every day by 2-3 hours

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Shillong, Sept 15: The opposition Voice of the People Party (VPP) on Friday withdrew its amendment motion to the allocation of time proposed by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) for the current Assembly’s autumn session after the government assured to extend the session by 2-3 hours every day.

Earlier, while moving his motion, Adelbert Nongrum said he was unhappy on seeing the calendar as allocation of 5 working days is too short, especially when the government convenes Assembly only twice a year.

“And giving only 2 days to Private Members’ Business is not enough, when there are so many pressing issues concerning the state,” he added.

He said there are many important issues concerning the state which include ranking of the state as per national index on poverty and education is the lowest in the entire country, menace of drugs, student concerns on the National Education Policy (NEP), the cry of educated youth who are not gainfully employed, loopholes in methodology for state quota seats in MBBS, parliamentary amendment to the Forest Conservation Act, disruption of environmental public hearing for expansion of cement factory in East Jaintia Hills, high handedness of police in public protests, continuing imbroglio on them metor and the question of funding for Shillong Cherry Blossom festival.

“So with deep concern I ask, can these burning issues and many more, which directly affect the common people of the state, be sufficiently addressed in just 5 days of House sittings? Why such an attempt to restrict length of Session? What is the underlying agenda?… A short assembly session is nothing less than murder of democracy.”

“(Therefore), I am of the opinion that allocation of time for Private Members’ Business should be extended to as many days as Government Business, and that the Calendar for Private Members’ Business should not be scheduled on a Friday where House sitting concludes at 12 noon,” Nongrum added.

Supporting the motion, VPP chief and Nongkrem legislator Ardent M Basaiawmoit said, “I feel it would be in the best interest of the people of the state that the House sitting is extended for some more days and timing increase so that we can dispose (the many) issues.”

He also reminded the government that the opposition is there to criticize the government constructively in order to take the State forward.

Replying to the motion, Deputy Chief Minister in-charge Parliamentary Affairs Prestone Tynsong said, “In fact that day when we had the BAC meeting, we had already discussed the details with all members and we fixed it for five days’ session.”

“(However) during the five days’ session, under your (Speaker) wisdom Sir we said we can extend (the session) to 2-3 hours, if necessary. So I calculated that if we extend 2-3 hours in five days, it will be more or less more than 1 day,” he added.

Agreeing that the issues to be raised are very important, the deputy chief minister however said, “The only point here is I would like to request especially from the opposition side, while submitting the issues, it would be appropriate if they sit down together (and decide).”

Tynsong said he has seen that be it questions, motions, zero hour notice etc, the issues are overlapping and the same subject members are submitting and replying (to the same subject) will lead to unnecessary wasting of time.

“So if they (opposition) have this kind of discussion, nothing like it. They can submit (the issues) where your office can regulate (the time accordingly),” he said while requesting the Speaker to approve the allocation of time proposed by the BAC.

Following the assurance to extend the time of the session, Nongrum also agreed to withdraw the motion of amendment.

Also Read: Opposition’s motive to work against ‘Sanatan’, will fight LS Election for civilization: Himanta Biswa Sarma

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