– Not Akash Vijayvargiya’s cricket bat – but of another kind repeatedly came-up for discussion and created commotion during
in the state assembly on Thursday.
BJP MLA from Mandsaur seat
raised a question on frequent power-cuts despite adequate energy in the state, maintenance of lines by the energy department and who is responsible for the black-outs. He also said that state government had argued that anti-socials were disrupting power supply by tampering with the lines.
“Feeder separation was introduced because it stopped losses and made lines tamper-proof. And if anti-socials were responsible for the power-cuts, then how many FIRs have been registered against them?” he asked energy minister Priyavrat Singh.
But before Priyavrat Singh could speak, leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava quipped, “Tell us about the ‘chamkadaars’ (bats). How many of them were involved in power-cuts.” Speaker NP Prajapati looked at Bhargava and said, “Now what, you will want to know how many male and female bats were involved?”
The reference to bats came because in June, energy department officials told the minister that bats were responsible for power-cuts in the state. The bats in large numbers, officials had argued, trigger faults in the power lines.
As the LOP and Speaker were exchanging their words on bats, a comment came from finance minister Tarun Bhanot that suddenly created an uproar. Opposition BJP protested to the comment which was expunged by the Speaker. But the outrage continued.
Former home minister Bhupendra Singh said, “This behavior is unacceptable.” Pointing to the opposition MLAs, he said, “Are all these bats?” Speaker tried to calm him but Bhupendra Singh was enraged. He said, “Check the records and you will know what he said.”
LOP Bhargava said, “If we ask for reply to questions, will we be called bats by the treasury benches?” Finance minister Tarun Bhanot rtied to explain what he said but it went unheard in the ruckus.
Speaker observed that the House had spent 4 minutes and 27.5 seconds in an argument over bats. To this LOP retaliated with, “Our honour is not protected here.”
Speaker asked legislators to be focused on the power issue and the questions raised. Priyavrat Singh said that 18 complaints were registered against anti-socials involvement in power-cuts and five FIRs have been registered. He also said that there was no maintenance of electric lines in October and November last year when the BJP was in power because of the assembly elections. The energy minister also claimed that in the past 15 years of BJP rule, equipment used was substandard.
LOP Bhargava argued, “So what was the reason that it all ran so smoothly during the 15 years. Was God on our side?”
Priyavrat Singh went back to refer to bats issue and explained, “Bats are a problem only in North Bhopal zone, on either side of the Upper Lake. If you want we can go to the area and show you the bats. But we have ordered insulators for this zone.” LOP Bhargava said, “Bats have increased over the past eight months that they are a problem now?”