From the records of first Monsoon Session held in city

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Jul 2018 10:09:02


Staff Reporter,

The first Monsoon Session held in the city in 1961 saw fiery debates on breach of Panshet dam, demand for abolition of Legislative Council, changes sought in City of Nagpur Corporation Act

After 47 years, Monsoon Session of Maharashtra Legislature is being held in Nagpur from July 4. Previously, Monsoon Session was held in the city in 1961, 1966, and 1971. A lookback at the proceedings of the first Monsoon Session of State Legislature reveals some interesting things.

“The first Monsoon Session held in the city was dominated by breach of Panshet dam that had wreaked havoc in Pune. The dam had breached on July 12, 1961 causing massive floods in Pune, and the Monsoon Session began in Nagpur on July 14,” said Nilesh Madane, Director, V S Page Parliamentary Training Centre, and Public Relations Officer, Maharashtra Legislature Secretariat. The incident was bound to dominate the proceedings of the session.

Quoting from the records of the State Legislature, Madane said that the then Chief Minister Yashwantrao Chavan had appointed a commission headed by Justice (retd) R S Bawadekar to conduct a probe into the incident. The mysterious death of Justice Bawadekar gave a new twist to the entire episode. Later, the Government appointed a commission headed by Justice V A Naik to conduct probe. Though the commission’s report did not mention that the incident was ‘act of God’, the Government resolution mentioned that breach of Panshet dam was an ‘act of God’. Many members spoke on the issue and explored various dimensions. Between July 29 and August 7, the legislative business was not transacted during the session to ensure that relief and rehabilitation measures could be implemented on priority for those affected by floods caused due to breach of Panshet dam.

Interestingly, in the same session, a member S G Varti from Vasai constituency had raised the demand for abolition of Legislative Council. Maharashtra is among the few States with bi-cameral legislature. That is, Maharashtra Legislature has two Houses -- Legislative Assembly (Lower House) and Legislative Council (Upper House). Varti had brought up the matter in Legislative Assembly on July 25, 1961. After a well-informed debate, the resolution was rejected through vote. A total of 84 members voted against the resolution and 44 voted in favour of it. Stalwarts like Rambhau Mhalgi, S K Athalye Guruji, K S Dhariya, Datta Patil, Wamanrao Nayak, Saki Niyazi, P K Bhapkar, P H Boricha, A B Vichare, Nana Jedhe, S G Sonavane, Karuna Chaudhary, Dattaji Deshmukh, R D Bhandare, Shantilal Shahu, A B Bardhan, and Dattaji Tamhane had participated in the debate.

A B Bardhan, who represented Nagpur constituency then, had brought up a non-official Bill suggesting amendments to City of Nagpur Corporation Act. This had triggered a debate on the issue. Later, the then Urban Development Minister assured to resolve the issues involved, and Bardhan withdrew the Bill.

Another member Dattaji Tamhane had raised the demand for nationalisation of ferry transport business.
The then Building and Transport Minister Marotrao Kannamwar had replied that it was not possible. But, he had assured that the matter could be examined.
“There are several such interesting anecdotes in the record of Maharashtra Legislature. During the Monsoon Session of 1961, the then Chief Minister Yashwantrao Chavan had given oral replies to the highest number of questions. Besides, the then Revenue Minister Vasantrao Naik had given oral replies to the highest number of motions,” Madane said.

House adjourned due to interruption in power supply

On August 23, 1961 during a debate on Maharashtra Decentralisation of Power and District Council Bill, power supply to Vidhan Bhavan got interrupted owing to which the Legislative Assembly was adjourned for eight minutes. The business resumed after power supply was restored. However, during speech of a member, once again power supply got interrupted, following which the then Deputy Speaker had adjourned the House for the day and announced that the business would resume on August 28.