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UDF walkout in Assembly over IAS officers' rift

UDF walkout in Assembly over IAS officers rift

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress led UDF opposition members Wednesday hit out at the LDF government over the alleged rift between IAS officers in Agriculture Department and staged a walkout in the assembly They also alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has lost control on the officers.

The opposition raked up the issue of differences between Agriculture Principal secretary Raju Narayanaswamy and Agriculture Director Biju Prabhhakar and said functioning of the government has been affected due to the “frequent bureaucratic infighting”, a charge denied by Chief Minister.

Causing embarrassment to the government, the two senior officials had traded charges against each other yesterday.

Replying to the notice for an adjournment motion on the matter moved by Opposition, Vijayan downplayed the matter and said the was differences were personnel in nature and had not in any way affected the functioning of the department.

The House witnessed noisy scenes when opposition members trooped to the well of the House after both sides trades charges over the issue.

Vijayan informed the House that Agriculture Minister V S Sunilkumar had already sought explanation from the officials and the government “is capable to deal with the situation”.

“It is not a serious issue that warranted a debate and opposition took up the matter as they do not have any other issues to be taken up against the government”, Vijayan said.

Seeking notice for the motion, V D Sateeshan (Cong) said the Chief Minister and ministers have no control over the officials and latest spat by officers of Agriculture department was continuation of prolonged infighting between senior officials in the state.

The House witnessed noisy scenes when Sateeshan mentioned during his speech that Horticorporation was purchasing vegetables from a company headed by Gopinathan, father of Geetha Gopinathan, Economic Adviser to Chief Minister.

Intervening, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan asked Satheeshan to stick to the issues for which he had given notice and not to go overboard.

Clarifying the matter, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said there was no procedure lapse in purchasing vegetables from Raitramitra, a venture of group of farmers in Karnataka.

Attacking the government, opposition leader Ramesh Chenithala said it was unfortunate that the Chief Minister viewed the rift between officers lightly.

Chennithala defended Biju Prabhakar and said allegation of Raju Narayanaswamy that Prabhakar’s IAS was fake was a serious one.

“I know Biju Prabhakar, son of a former Congress state minister late Thachadi Prabhakaran, very well”, he said.

Opposition staged walkout after the speaker refused leave for the motion.

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