Shimla: The month-long Budget session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly began on a stormy note today, with the Opposition Indian National Congress staged a walkout from the house after failing to get nod for discussion on reported proposal of amendments in Section 118 of the Tenancy and Land Reforms Act of 1972.

Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri raised the issue in the house and demanded discussion on rule 67 of the house. However, after failing to get nod, led by Agnihotri, Indian National Congress legislatures raised slogans against the government’s plan to amend the important Act. He said the Act was imbedded by the first chief minister, Dr YS Parmar, to safeguard the land of poor farmers.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur clarified that the government had no intention of amending the Act. The Chief Minister said the interest of people of state was uppermost.

Thakur further clarified that if amendment would be necessary in the Act, the Government would seek public opinion and suggestions from the Opposition and on the basis of the feedback a view would be taken on the issue. He, further stated that “the government has the mandate and would not succumb to pressure”.

The Chief Minister clarified that the State Government hasn’t taken any decision of amendment in Section 118 and opposition demanding discussion on the topic which is hypothetical and not based on facts. Thakur said that the Act was introduced in 1972 and since then it was modified several times. Thakur elaborated that the Act was modified in 1995, 1996 when Indian National Congress was in helm and in 2011 and 2012 minor amendments were made in the Act.

Meanwhile the opposition Staged walkout from the House. The Chief Minister continued with his speech, he said that previous government, in a budget speech on 7th February 2014, announced to make amendments in the Act to attract industrial investments to the state and even announced to give clearance within 90 days for medium and large scale projects. The Budget Speech of 2014 read

“the State Government is committed to provide industry environment for attracting new investments. We have already streamlined the system of grant of approvals by introducing a common application form for clearing all medium and large scale projects within a period of 90 days. In order to further streamline and expedite various clearances, I propose that once an industrial project is approved by the stat level single window clearance and monitoring committee headed by me, the concerned industry would be issued approval of state government under Section 118 of the HP Tenancy & land Reforms (HPTLR) Act to purchase private land up to a specified limit, immediately. The department of Revenue and Industries will immediately formulate necessary guidelines in this regard. Similarly, in respect of land to be allotted to set up industrial units in the industrial areas/estate developed by the department/SIDC, the department of Industries will be authorized to grant permission under Section-118 of HPTLR Act.”

The Chief Minister condemned the opposition’s move of walking out of the house. He advised opposition members to ensure smooth functioning of the house. The Speaker also made clear that as “the subject matter of an adjournment motion must have direct or indirect relation to the conduct or default on the part of the Government and must be in the nature of criticism of the action of the Government either for having done some action -it is very important to mention either for having done some action – or for having omitted to do some action which was urgently necessary at the moment. An adjournment Motion is not admissible unless there was failure on the part of the Government to perform the duties enjoined by the Constitution and the law.” And as the Government hasn’t made any changes in the Act thus it don’t comes under the Rule 67 of the house.