The Odisha Legislative Assembly session began on Tuesday with protests amidst the Corona transition. On the very first day, seven bills were introduced in the House by the government, out of which BJP and Congress MLAs strongly opposed the University School Law Amendment Bill. Even Congress MLA Tara Prasad Vahinipati tore the bill in the house and called it a black bill. Other bills introduced in the House include Infectious Diseases (Odisha Amendment) Bill, Court-Fees (Odisha Amendment) Bill, Odisha Advocates Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, Craft Disputes (Odisha Amendment) Bill, Odisha Pour Law (Amendment Bill and Odisha Substance and Service Tax (Amendment) Bill is included. After this, Speaker of the Assembly Surya Narayan Patra adjourned the proceedings of the House till Wednesday. The Chief Minister took part in the first day of the session through video conference from Naveen Nivas while several other members including those above 60 years of age attended through virtual platforms from the LokaSeva Bhawan and the district collectors’ offices in their respective constituencies.
Earlier, at the commencement of the session, a condolence motion was brought on the demise of late President Pranab Mukherjee, late Vishnu Das, Madan Mohan Dutt. Along with this, tributes have been paid to soldiers and COVID warriors at the convention. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik participated in the proceedings of the House through video conferencing from Naveen Niwas. In the same way, six senior MLAs from Lokseva Bhavan participated in the proceedings of the House. However, Corona-infected legislators were not allowed to participate in the proceedings of the House. Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the House till 3 pm as a mark of respect to the sitting members who died recently. Though there is a tradition to adjourn proceedings for a day in the event of sitting members’ demise, this time it was limited to half-a-day due to the pandemic, he said.
When the proceedings of the House started after 3 pm, 7 bills were introduced in the House on behalf of the government. As the Higher Education Minister Arun Sahu introduced the World School Amendment Bill 2020 in the House, the opposition party legislators strongly opposed it.
Congress Legislature Party leader Narsingh Mishra said, “ people are troubled by the Corona epidemic today, what is the use of the Vishwa Vidyalaya Amendment Bill at such a time. What is its contact with Corona? After all, why is the government so hasty on this bill?” Congress MLA Mishra, accusing the government of having ulterior motives behind the bill, said that the government was planning to keep the university under control.
“Once the bill comes, the university will not move even a leaf without the government’s permission. Syndicate system will have Joint Secretary level officers,” added Mishra. Congress MLA Tara Prasad Vahinipati has demanded the bill to be sent to the selection committee.
Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs along with Congress have also opposed the Vishwa Vidyalaya Amendment Bill. Opposition party leader Pradeep Nayak has said that through this the government is trying to destroy the independence of the university. The government wants to bring the university in its custody. In the same way, he also opposed the bill, raising questions about the university school appointment process. Apart from this, the anti-Corona party leader Nayak brought charges of the rigging of mask purchases during the Corona era. Accusing it of being irregular, he has raised the demand for an investigation.
Higher Education Minister Arun Sahu has said that this bill will not harm a single point of university education. All the universities of the state will be governed according to the University Act. The central government will have no role in university school.