Agartala, Sept 3 : Amid opposition from CPI (M) and subsequent walk out , Tripura assembly today passed Essential Services Maintenance Bill 2019. The ruling BJP MLA and former health minister Sudip Roybarman had proposed to send the bill to select committee raising some technical issues, but Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb turned down the request.
The bill was introduced on the first day of the monsoon session on Friday and the Opposition staged a protest and finally walked out of the House terming it as a draconian law. Opposing the bill, Leader of the Opposition and Politburo member Manik Sarkar argued that Tripura's present situation doesn't warrant ESMA. '' This will snatch away the democratic rights of the people involved in service sectors to protest to protect their interest.
The state has not faced any such situation till date to pass ESMA like draconian law. By and large the employees of Tripura are positive and also work for the development of the state and if ESMA is passed it will create a bad impact,” said Mr Sarkar. Justifying the decision, Mr Deb asserted that the state government is not against any employee but the Parliament had passed the Act to ensure confidence among the common people and said, “It will affect only those who work against the government and the people.”
'' The law is mainly to act as a deterrent to ensure that there is no disruption of essential services including public transport, health services, water and power supply and sale of essential commodity. Most of the Indian states are having the law under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) 1968. It would not be implemented in normal situation. It would be used as a last resort for the government in case of extraordinary situation,'' he stated.
As per the act in Tripura any person booked under the act would be punished with imprisonment for three years or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both considering the situation. The bill also provides for designated police officer to arrest a person continuing to participate in service disruption activities without warrant. All offences under ESMA are non-bailable and the person cannot take recourse to any other act.UNI BB KK