The Monsoon session of the Goa Assembly got off to a rocky start on Thursday as it was adjourned four times after the Opposition refused to budge from its demand to discuss the matter of formalin reportedly being found in fish supplies in the state.

Formalin is a substance used as a preservative for biological specimens in laboratories. It is potentially carcinogenic for humans if consumed over a long period of time.

The state government on Wednesday banned the import of fish from neighbouring states till the end of the month after formalin was reportedly detected in fish supplies. The ban was imposed under the Food and Drugs Administration Act.

As the session began, Speaker Pramod Sawant rejected Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar’s request to move an adjournment motion and asked the Congress to use a Calling Attention motion instead, PTI reported. Leaders from the Opposition party then rushed to the Well of the House after which the House was adjourned till noon.

After the House reassembled, the Congress kept pressing its demand. When Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar tried to answer a tabled question, the Opposition leaders asked for the Question Hour to be suspended and insisted that the adjournment motion be considered on a priority basis. Sawant refused and adjourned the House till 12.30 pm. He suspended proceedings again till 12.45 pm after Congress MLAs again rushed to the Well.

Sawant, who was forced to pass obituary references in the midst of the din, again adjourned proceedings till 2.30 pm. As the protests continued, the Assembly was finally adjourned for the day.

“All 16 [Congress] MLAs have signed a motion of adjournment,” IANS quoted Kavlekar as saying. “This formalin issue should be discussed first. Not at the time of calling attention motion.”

He alleged that a fish mafia was killing Goans. “It is spreading slow poison,” he added. “This is a burning issue. All other issues can wait.”