New Delhi:12.45pm: BJP leader LK Advani has questioned the lack of coordination between the Orissa state government and the centre, with regards to the Italian hostage crisis currently underway in the state. Meanwhile CPIM leader Gurudas Gupta also questioned the basis on how visas and residency permits were given to foreign nationals in India.
Earlier the opposition questioned the visa policy of the government that allows foreigners to stay in India for twenty years undetected. One of the two Italians who were taken hostage by Maoists in Orissa had reportedly lived in the country for 20 years. Paolo Bosusco, a 54-year-old tourist guide, and Claudio Colangelo, a 61-year-old holidaymaker from Rome, were abducted on Wednesday in Odisha, in the first case of foreigners being kidnapped by Left-wing extremists.
The debate was started by a member of Orissa's ruling BJB party who asked Home Minister P. Chidambaram why he was not taking the Italian hostage crisis in the state seriously. Standing up to speak on the issue under "matters of urgent public importance", the BJB said that the Italian hostage crisis held ramifications for the whole country and not just Orissa, and said that the Home Minister had listened to just two lines on the telephone, said 'ok ok' and hung up.
The MP added that it was a shame that even though parliament was in a session, not a single statement has come from the government. "The Home Ministry has not made a single statement", he said amid huge uproar in the house.
12.30pm:The railways appropriation bill has been passed with all of its amendments.
12.25pm: The house is approving the railways appropriation bill clause by clause. The Railway Minister has also put on hold the proposal for the expansion of the Railway Board.12.20pm: Railway Minister Mukul Roy has struck down passenger fare hikes in all classes except AC first and second classes, saying that he wanted to reduce the burden of the aam aadmi. The Minister added that he intended to launch an aggressive drive to mop up resources for the railways. The minister also vowed to upgrade the catering system in all trains across the country.
The amendments to the budget originally presented by Dinesh Trivedi were widely expected when Mamata Banerjee said she was only opposed to a blanket fare hike.
Earlier parliament was rocked by reports of an alleged coal scam to the tune of Rs 10.7 lakh crore with the Opposition forcing adjournment of both the Houses till noon.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, JD-U members were on their feet demanding immediate discussion on a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on allocation of 155 coal acreages between 2004 and 2009 to some 100 companies.
The moment Speaker Meira Kumar called for the Question Hour, BJP and JD-U members trooped into the Well raising slogans against the government. "Yeh Sarkar Kaali Hai (This government has been tarnished)" the opposition members chanted in the Well. With members unrelenting, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon. Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha where Prakash Javadekar (BJP) said he had given notice for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the alleged scam.