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Ugrappa sees emergency as an antidote for scams

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JUNE 17. The Congress member in the Legislative Council, V.S. Ugrappa, has come out with an antidote to the scams being reported in the State; the latest being the diversion of rice meant for the food-for-work programme.

He has advocated the declaration of an internal emergency in the country to tackle scandals as it is difficult to bring to book the culprits under the penal laws.

Mr. Ugrappa was participating in the debate on the issue of smuggling of rice, raised under Rule 68 in the House on Wednesday.

He argued that politicians, who generally were not conversant with the law, could not themselves carry on the rice smuggling in the State.

He said the executive should be held responsible for the racket as officers at various levels were monitoring the drought relief works and transportation and distribution of foodgrains. Not sparing officials of the Union Government for their "failure" to take action under the Essential Commodities Act, Mr. Ugrappa suggested that some members of the previous Assembly had a role in the racket.

They were chairmen of the task force committees looking after the drought relief works and their involvement in the racket could not be ruled out. For a while, members on the Opposition benches engaged him in good-humoured raillery and Mr. Ugrappa remarked that he considered it an encouragement to perform better.

Recalling Mr. Ugrappa's past association with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, M.R. Tanga (BJP) explained that the BJP members were interrupting him as they had love for him and appreciated his skills as a legislator.

Recalling his days in the Bangalore Central Jail in 1975, Mr. Ugrappa said though he was incarcerated for 17 months under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) for his opposition to the Emergency, he was of the view that only stringent measures such as MISA could stem the rot in society.

Basavaraj Bommai, Floor Leader of the Janata Dal (United), said what Mr. Ugrappa was saying reflected on the company he was keeping.

Ramachandra Gowda (BJP) told Mr. Ugrappa that the days were not far off when he would join their party.

But Mr. Ugrappa sympathised with Mr. Gowda for daydreaming.

The Congress member charged that wrong steps such as using rice under the food-for-work programme for other purposes were first taken by the Andhra Pradesh Government when N. Chandrababu Naidu was Chief Minister.

Funds provided for drought relief were used up for building flyovers in Hyderabad, he alleged.

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