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Speaker disallows voting, PAC report accepted as it is

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 10 (UNI) In yet another jolt to the Sheila Dikshit government, Delhi Assembly Speaker Prem Singh today disallowed voting on Public Accounts Committee report on 'Smart Cards' issued by state's Transport Department that suggested there were irregularities in the process and recommended CBI probe into the matter.

The Speaker said there would be neither be a formal motion before the House nor voting on the report, which was listed for adpotion by the house today.

House committees were like a 'mini house' and their reports were not to be discussed again in the House and had to be accepted as it they were, he said.

Hence, the report was accepted as it is without any discussion, much to the discomfort of the government.

His ruling assumed importance as a 'whip' had been issued to Congress MLAs to vote against the report when it was put to the floor.

BJP member S S Chauhan brought it to the notice of the chair that the rules prevented any voting or discussion on a report of a house committee.

On March 9, the Public Accounts Committee report, seeking a CBI probe into the issue of 'smart cards' by the transport department was tabled in Delhi Assembly, causing huge embarassment to the state government.

The smart card technology was introduced for driving license and vehicle registration applications in the capital in February 1999, but was soon mired in controversy following reports of impropriety in the tender process.

The PAC headed by Congress MLA S C Vats said ''with the sole objective of favouring a dubious entity,'' the transport department had burdened the common man monetarily.

''On the pretext of introducing latest technology, unscrupulous elements in the department colluded with the monopolistic vendor to commit a huge fraud on the people of Delhi. Stringent and deterrent action needs to be taken against the officers responsible for this fraud,'' the Committee said, while recommending a CBI probe.

Earlier, the Assembly had adopted a similar report on the power privatisation issue as well. That report too indicated that irregularities had been committed and sought a CBI investigation.

On March 6, in what could be seen as a major jolt to its legislative functioning, Delhi government had withdrawn three important bills in the state assembly after select committees' had rejected them.

In order to save itself from discomfort and embarrassment due to opposition from its own party MLAs, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit withdrew the controversial Delhi Water Board (Amendment) Bill 2005 that proposed to regulate and impose cess on groundwater, as also the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (Second Amendment) Bill 2004 and New Delhi Municipal Council (Amendment) Bill 2004 both of which sought to increase fine amounts from 20 to 50 per cent.

''I am withdrawing the (Delhi Water Board) Bill in its present form, for the present,'' the chief minister said on the floor of the house when the reports came up for adoption.

Though forced to accept the ''rejection'' report of the select committees constituted to go into the subjects after considerable pressure from dissidents, Ms Dikshit said that the select Committee had not followed ''due procedure''. However this was objected to by the committee members.

UNI IP VD HT1850

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