Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Protest by BJD members -- Asian age

Protest by BJD members

- By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, Nov. 30: For once, the Biju Janata Dal members, who are always sitting quitely and behaving properly, were on their feet in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Some BJD MPs, led by Mr Tathagat Satpathy, even sat in the Well of the House to protest against what they described the decision of the UPA government to shift the proposed National Institute of Science from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata.

After the Question Hour, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee allowed BJD leader Braj KishoreTripathy to raise the issue and with him the whole BJP contingent was on its feet, alleging Central neglect of Orissa. Raising the issue, Mr Tripathy followed by Mr Arjun Charan Sethi said that the earlier NDA government had decided that the proposed institute would be located at Bhubaneswar, but the Manmohan Singh government has now taken a "political decision" to shift it to Kolkata.

The move, he alleged, had resulted in "unrest" among students and intellectuals in Orissa, which had been a victim of such "ill-treatment" in the past and does not have even a single IIT or IIM or any such Central institution. "Are we not in India?" he asked, adding that when a BJD delegation went to meet the Prime Minister to seek a financial package for the state "we were told that money does not grow on trees."

Some remarks by Mr Tripathy were expunged by the Speaker who gently told him not to say anything which would harm national unity. The BJD members alleged that the Prime Minister had not responded to three letters written by chief minister Navin Patnaik on the issue. He said Utkal University in Bhubaneswar had even acquired 75 acres of land for setting up the institute.

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