Thursday, September 29, 2016

MLAs' strike enters second day

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress-led UDF Opposition Thursday boycotted the Assembly proceedings after the government refused to reconsider its agreement with private medical college managements on fee structure and admissions.

With the stalemate continuing, the agitation by five opposition MLAs over the issue on the foyer of the Assembly hall entered the second day.

MLAs Shafi Parambil and Hibi Eden (both Congress) and Anoop Jacob (KC-J) are on an indefinite fast while K M Shaji and N Shamsuddin (both IUML) are on a sit-in dharna to express solidarity with the three.

The Assembly witnessed noisy scenes after Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan refused leave for a motion moved by UDF for a debate on the matter, leading to adjournment for an hour.

The Speaker then convened a meeting of leaders of ruling and opposition sides to find an amicable solution to the deadlock in the House.

When the House met after the break, Sreeramakrishnan said that no consensus had been reached and took up other business slated for the day.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala then announced that in view of the government's "non-compromising" attitude, the UDF was boycotting the proceedings.

Earlier, opposition members, who wore black badges, abstained from asking questions during Question Hour as a mark of protest.

While replying to the notice for adjournment motion, Health Minister K K Shayalaja reiterated the government stand that the pact has actually benefited the students community.

The agreement also had the approval of Supreme Court, she said while referring to the apex court decision not to interfere in the admission process underway in the state.

She also said the LDF government was in favour of centralized counselling for medical college admission on NEET list and it would be implemented from next year.

"We have submitted this in the Supreme Court," she added.

Attacking the government, Chennithala said, "LDF and private managements are hand in glove and the government is helping the managements to exploit the students community."

He also demanded that the government reexamine the fees structure.

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