Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly was today adjourned for about an hour following an uproar over the Centre’s directive to the state to return a part of its assistance given for Cyclone Phailin.

With the treasury bench and opposition virtually in a face off situation, Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat adjourned the House till 11.30 AM after two minutes of the Question Hour.

While the ruling BJD members protested on their seats by holding banners against the Centre’s alleged apathy, the Opposition Congress members rushed to the well of the House accusing the state government of not being able to spend the amount given by the UPA government.

The issue was raised as soon as the House assembled for the day. Earlier last night in his reply to the Vote-on-Account, Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya had said that Centre asked the state government to return Rs 289.62 crore out of its total assistance of Rs 750 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund towards Cyclone Phailin.

He said the Centre in a letter to the state has stated that since it has provided more money to the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) towards the cyclone assistance, the state government should return the surplus SDRF to the NDRF failing which the money would be deducted from the Centrally-sponsored programmes earmarked for the state in future.

The state government had earlier through different memoranda had sought about Rs 5,000 crore as Cyclone assistance from the Centre. Union Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, during his post-cyclone visit to the state had announced that Centre in addition to the Rs 750 crore to the state, would provide a total of Rs 934 crore on the basis of the recommendation of the Inter Ministerial Committee.

“Leave alone Rs 934 crore, the Centre has now asked the state government to return part of its earlier assistance which shows its customary apathy towards the state,” Acharya has said.

As the House was adjourned for an hour, the ruling BJD members staged dharna near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Assembly premises.

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