MLA Kurasala Kannababu addresses the Assembly Budget sessions at Velagapudi in Guntur District on Sunday. (Photo: By Arrangement)
Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh Assembly proceedings were marred by turmoil again on Sunday due to protests by Telugu Desam MLAs, leading to the suspension of all the 11 opposition legislators for a day.
Trouble started when Speaker Tammineni Sitaram rejected an adjournment resolution by TD legislators on the increase in electricity charges.
After the completion of Question Hour, a discussion on the recent Global Investment Summit and on skill development for the youth continued in the assembly. TD MLAs led by deputy floor leader K Atchannaidu alleged that a Rs 6000crore "scam" took place in the name of fixing smart meters for electricity consumers. They argued that there was no need for smart meters as no other state had opted for it so far.
They alleged that the government was trying to restrain farmers from getting free power. This led to heated arguments between the treasury and opposition benches.
Energy minister Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy recalled that Chandrababu Naidu opposed the free power scheme by saying power lines would be used for hanging clothes due to scarcity of electricity. "Yet, YS Rajasekhar Reddy successfully implemented the scheme."
The minister said that the government decided to fix 18.57 lakh smart meters to supply quality power, giving the right of question under the DBT scheme by disbursing the money directly into the bank accounts of farmers. "A majority of farmers, barring 10,025, opened their bank accounts and gave their consent to install smart meters."
The minister refuted the allegations of TD legislators. Opposition MLAs raised slogans obstructing the house proceedings.
TD MLAs rushed to the well in the assembly and climbed the Speaker’s Podium alleging a scam of Rs 6,000 crore in the smart meters-fixing programme.
The speaker tried to pacify the members and minister Jogi Ramesh, legislators Jakkampudi Raja, Dr Srinivas Reddy, Umasankar Ganesh, Kursala Kannababu and others objected to the unruly behaviour of the TD legislators. As the commotion continued, the ruling party proposed suspension of TD MLAs, passed the resolution and the speaker announced the suspension of 11 TD legislators for a day.
Among the suspended MLAs were Atchannaidu, Ganababu, Velagapudi Ramakrishna, Nimmala Chinnarajappa and Adireddy Bhavani.