Maharashtra: Congress demands special session of legislature to discuss sunstroke tragedy deaths

sunstroke, Maharashtra Bhushan award, Navi Mumbai, toll rises to 14
The Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony was held in an open ground and was attended by several lakh people | Photo: Twitter/Eknath Shinde

The Maharashtra Congress has demanded that a special session of the state legislature be convened to discuss issues including the death of more than a dozen people due to sunstroke last month and protests against a proposed oil refinery project at Barsu in Ratnagiri district. A Congress delegation made the demand to Governor Ramesh Bais during a meeting with him at the Raj Bhavan here on Tuesday.

Notably, 14 people died due to sunstroke after attending the Maharashtra Bhushan award event in Kharghar area of Navi Mumbai on April 16.

A section of residents in and around Barsu in Ratnagiri have been opposing the proposed refinery as they fear the mega project will adversely affect the fragile biodiversity of the coastal Konkan region and also hit their livelihood.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the governor on Tuesday, state Congress president Nana Patole alleged the incident that took place in Kharghar during the Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony was a “state-sponsored murder” and till date no case has been registered in this connection. “Poor planning of the government was responsible for the incident. It should be investigated by a high court judge,” he said. Patole also claimed that the Barsu refinery project was being imposed by the government on locals despite their opposition. The state government was using police force to oppress the locals and it wants to destroy the pristine environment of Konkan, he further claimed. Patole further said farmers have suffered losses due to unseasonal rains and hailstorms and they should be given immediate help.

The cultivators have been devastated by the weather change and the rate of farmer suicides has increased in the state, he said.

The Congress leader said they have demanded that the governor call a special session of the legislature to discuss all these issues. The delegation included former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and state Congress working president Naseem Khan. Chavan said during the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government (which comprised the then unidivided Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress), the Maratha Reservation Sub-Committee chairman had demanded that the 50 per cent quota ceiling be relaxed. It is not possible to give reservation to the Maratha community without increasing the reservation ceiling from the current 50 per cent. This issue was also raised by MPs in Parliament, but the Narendra Modi government did not take a decision on it, he said.

A curative petition will also yield nothing. In Chhattisgarh, 58 per cent reservation is now being implemented, Chavan said.

Like Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra should also get the benefit for reservation to the Maratha community. The governor should inform the central government about this, he added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)