The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today witnessed ruckus over the Nanar refinery issue as MLAs of the Shiv Sena and the Congress tried to snatch the mace of the Speaker. However, the staff of the Speaker prevented the MLAs from taking away the mace after they climbed the podium.
The unruly scenes forced Speaker Haribhau Bagde to adjourn the proceedings for the day. As soon as the House assembled today, Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu demanded that the party MLAs be allowed to speak first on the issue as they wanted to participate in a morcha opposing the project.
However, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (Congress) opposed the Sena’s demand, saying the Opposition had already submitted a notice for adjournment motion on the issue. He told Speaker Haribhau Bagde that members of the Congress and NCP be allowed to speak on the issue immediately after Minister of State for Agriculture Sadashiv Khot finished giving his reply on a debate on farmers’ issues.
Vikhe Patil was joined by Ajit Pawar of the NCP. However, Sena MLAs tuck to their demand and stormed into the Well of the House. Pawar wondered how the Sena could disrupt the proceedings of the House despite it being a ruling party and at a time when a minister (Khot) is speaking on an important issue.
Pawar and Vikhe Patil urged the speaker to take up their notices seeking adjournment motions on the refinery issue before allowing Sena members to speak.
NiteshRane (Congress) said he should be allowed to speak first since he is the local MLA and his party had submitted an adjournment notice. He represents Kankavli assembly constituency in Sindhudurg district in Konkan.
As MLAs of Sena, Congress and NCP refused to relent, the speaker adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes. The House was adjourned once again as noisy scenes continued unabated.
Even as a meeting of the group leaders of the Congress and NCP was underway in the chamber of the Speaker, Sena MLAs kept repeating their demand, forcing the presiding officers to adjourned the proceedings for two more times. When the House reassembled after the fourth adjournment, Nitesh Rane and Rajan Salvi (Sena) climbed the podium and lifted the mace of the Speaker. Another Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik also climbed the podium.
However, the MLAs couldn’t take away the mace as the staff of the Speaker held on to it.
During the scuffle, one of the chairs placed on the podium was overturned, following which the Speaker adjourned the proceedings for the day. Amid unruly scenes, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar tabled the appropriation bill which was passed by a voice vote. The monsoon session of the state legislature is currently underway in Nagpur.
The Nanar refinery project has run into rough weather, as local people as well as the Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have been opposing it staunchly.
The project envisages construction of an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in Ratnagiri district. The project will be implemented by Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (RRPCL). Local people have been opposing the project claiming that it would damage ecology.