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Himachal budget session likely to be stormy


Shimla, March 10 (IANS) The month-long budget session of the Himachal Pradesh assembly beginning on Wednesday is likely to be stormy with the opposition BJP ready to corner the ruling Congress on various issues.

"The failure of the government to take action against Youth Congress activists who resorted in violence and extending protection to those accused of illegal mining and felling of trees will be among the major issues that will be raised during the session," state BJP president Satpal Satti told IANS.

Twelve activists of the Youth Congress and the BJYM had suffered injuries in a clash here Jan 29 during a demonstration against the central government’s land acquisition ordinance.

Satti said deteriorating law and order and corruption were also among the other issues that would be raised during the session.

The 68-member assembly would have 22 sittings. The session, beginning with Governor Kalyan Singh’s address, will conclude on April 10.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, will present the budget on March 18.

This would be his 18th budget since he became chief minister for the first time in 1983.

Official sources said the government is likely to table a controversial bill, the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill to regularise over 20,000 illegal constructions.

Legislation to regulate the sports bodies in the state, including the BJP MP Anurag Thakur-led Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), is also likely to be tabled.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Agnihotri told reporters that the government is ready to debate any issue raised by the opposition.

The Congress is likely to take credit for getting the enhanced grant of Rs.40,625 crore to the revenue deficit hill state as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission.

The state received the grant out of the Rs.1.95 lakh crore allotted to 11 revenue deficit states.

BJP MP Anurag Thakur has already thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the enhanced grant.

"The prime minister is aware of problems faced by the hill states and therefore even if it meant the straining of its own finances, the central government has accepted the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission in letter and spirit," he said in a statement.

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