News Karnataka
Tuesday, March 21 2023

Has 10-day Belagavi session served the purpose?

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Belagavi: The Rs 400-crore Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belgavi has been the seat of power for 10 days since it was inaugurated in 2012. The entire state government machinery moved to Belagavi for the winter session of the legislature.

The objective of this symbolic exercise, that costs Rs1.5-2 crore per day to conduct the session at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha during the winter session and Rs 4 crore for the upkeep of the building for the remainder of the year, is to show ownership of the bordering city – Belagavi – and make the people of North Karnataka feel that they have not been neglected and to take up issues of the largely unconnected and backward region during the session.

It is a good idea and deserves appreciation because having Assembly sessions in Belagavi can be a hurdle for Maharashtra, which has been claiming the border city as its own. It also provides an opportunity to focus on issues pertaining to the North Karnataka region. It will also help the government restrain politicians and regional leaders who want separate the North Karnataka region from the state.

However, the lack of interest among the elected representatives, including ministers, to attend the session makes this 10-day as more of an expenditure than a benefit.

Empty benches

It is not just the average legislator who is playing truant this ongoing legislature session. On Monday, many ministers were not in attendance, especially in the Legislative Assembly.

Around 10 ministers, who had been designated by the Speaker to attend Monday’s session, were absent. The issue came up when Major Irrigation Minister M.B. Patil replied on behalf of the absent Housing Minister M. Krishnappa. The questioner, BJP member C.T. Ravi, took exception to this and objected to Ministers staying away from the session.

When Speaker K.B. Koliwad read out the list of ministers who were designated to be in the House on Monday, Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar also raised voice against the ministers’ behaviour. Opposition members described it as showing indifference towards the people of north Karnataka.

Interestingly, the number of MLAs present in the Assembly did not exceed 50 even when the House took up discussion on the issues in north Karnataka. In fact, the quorum bell of the Assembly rang for nearly 30 minutes as there weren’t enough MLAs to commence the session. On the opening day of the session, there were less than 20 MLAs in the House of 225 members.

DySP Ganapathi issue

Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a protest in the Legislative Assembly demanding that Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George resign in the wake of media reports that Shailaja, the doctor who conducted the autopsy on DySP M.K. Ganapathy’s body, had stated before the CBI that she was made to work under pressure from the government.

Raising the issue, leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar alleged that the government has been trying to hush up evidence on the alleged murder case.

As BJP members raised slogans against the government, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that the CBI was investigating the case and there was no merit to Shettar’s allegations.

Meanwhile, JD(S) members also trooped to the well of the House and demanded that Speaker K.B. Koliwad allow party members to speak on issues concerning farmers and the north Karnataka region. As the House was not in order, the Speaker adjourned it for some time.

When the House reassembled later, the BJP members withdrew their dharna following the Speaker’s assurance that he would allow the issue to be taken up for discussion separately.


A diluted version of the controversial medical bill to regulate private health care was passed by a voice vote in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, sans the jail-term clause for doctors.

‘The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, which makes amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007 (Karnataka Act 21 of 2007) was tabled by health minister K R Ramesh Kumar on Tuesday. It also provides for emergency treatment as without insisting on payment of advance from patient or representative of the patient in specified cases and enhancing certain monetary penalties leviable under certain sections.

Bill for SC, ST quota in promotions of govt jobs

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a bill to ensure reservation in promotions for government employees belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The bill was passed on Friday at the Winter Assembly session in Belagavi, thereby giving legal weight to the already existing practice of reservation in promotions in the state.

By passing the bill, Karnataka has sidestepped a Supreme Court directive that stopped the state from exploring the legal route to introduce reservations for SC/ST persons in promotions of government jobs earlier this year.

Anti-Superstition Bill

The State Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017, popularly known as the ‘anti-superstition’ Bill, with minor changes.

While stamping of mudra on the body, a practice in the upper caste community (Madhwa Brahmins), has been exempted from the ban, advertisements that offer miracle cures for diseases have been banned.

In his reply, Social Welfare Minister H. Anjaneya said all suggestions given by members would be considered while formulating rules to the Act.

The entire Opposition welcomed the Bill and suggested that more attention should be given to creating awareness about prevailing superstitions in various lower caste communities.

Committee report on lake encroachment

Nearly one-fifth of lake area in the Garden City has been encroached upon, according to a Karnataka Legislature Committee report.

The report, which was tabled in the State Assembly on Tuesday, has recommended strict action against encroachers and officials responsible for it.

Widespread encroachments

Of the total 1,547 lakes (urban district has 837 lakes and rural district 710 lakes) in Bengaluru, which is spread across 57,932 acres in both urban and rural districts, 10,785 acres have been encroached upon by both government and private agencies, the report said.

Speaker KB Koliwad, who is chairman of the House committee on lakes, told reporters on Wednesday that the committee had found lake encroachment by both government and private agencies on a large scale.

Government agencies that figured in the encroachers’ list are Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA).

Assembly firm on punishing two journalists

The Legislative Assembly on Tuesday unanimously upheld a resolution imposing a one-year prison sentence and a fine of Rs 10,000 on editors of two Kannada tabloids for breach of privilege and rejected their plea to condone the punishment.

Members cutting across party lines opposed the editors’ plea on condoning the punishment and unanimously demanded immediate execution of the resolution passed by the House on June 21, 2017.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra moved the ‘reconsideration proposal’ and Speaker K B Koliwad, who had received the petition from the editors to reconsider the House decision, put the matter for debate. While a majority of members demanded immediate execution of the resolution, a few members sought doubling of the punishment. Only three members appealed to the Speaker to take a right decision since the journalists had approached the High Court.

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