To prevent and restrict the ‘illegal’ strikes across the state, the Odisha Assembly passed the Odisha Essential Services Act Amendment Bill 2020.
According to the Law, any person found stimulating and financing strikes will be penalized with imprisonment for a term which may be elongated to up to one year or a fine of rupees 5000 or can be both. The ESMA’s new provisions allow the Government to forbid strikes in the essential services like excise, prison, reforms, fire service, forest, electronics, and others. This will not withhold of getting critical services.
The Assembly also passed the Odisha Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Odisha Local Fund Audit (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Dibyashankar Mishra, Minister of State, stated that the amendment in ESMA was necessary for protecting citizens’ interests. The Government introduced this amendment so that they are not divested of vital services, and the bill will ensure no citizens are left out of the services.
But the opposition’s MLAs have hugely criticized the ruling party over this controversial bill as it will restrict the dissent’s voices.
“Naveen government is ruling for the last 22 years now. It is mired in corruption. There are no employment opportunities for youths, no developments in any place, no roads to villages; schools face shortage of teachers, hospitals do not have doctors, and the list is unending. When citizens of the State have decided to take to streets against all the issues, the Government amended a law to restrict people from raising their voices. The situation in Odisha is worse than what is being witnessed in Pakistan. People cannot commence strikes, they cannot stage road blockades, there will be no bandh in any district. This bill has been brought to exercise power and threaten the citizens of Odisha,,” said Tara Prasad bahinipati, Senior Congress MLA.
Article Written by Dikhya Mohanty
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