The Central Public Works Department has blamed the uproar by Opposition parties for the interruption in the audio feed from Rajya Sabha during the passage of the contentious farm bills in September, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday. The Opposition had accused authorities of deliberately muting the microphones.
On September 20, the Rajya Sabha witnessed chaos as the farm bills were being hurriedly passed: a section of Opposition leaders tried to snatch documents from the chairperson and even broke his microphone. The audio telecast of the live proceedings was muted, cutting off viewers from what members of Parliament were saying. Eight MPs were suspended from the House for their “unruly behaviour”.
“It is informed that abrupt interruption in the audio feed of the Rajya Sabha proceedings between 13.05hrs and 13.35hrs on September 20 during consideration of two farmer’s bills by Rajya Sabha was due to damage to the chairman’s microphones by the Hon’ble MPs,” the government’s construction arm wrote to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
The department’s version corroborated what the Rajya Sabha authorities had said.
“As per the directions of the chair, no other mic was on except those of the chairman,” the CPWD wrote in its letter. “So, when these mics were broken, there was no audio output from the system to RSTV.
It also ruled out any technical snag causing the interruption. “The sound system was working perfectly and audio feed resumed when the broken mics were replaced with the permission of marshals and table office,” it added.
The CPWD’s letter comes at a time when tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are gathered at the borders of Delhi for the fifth consecutive day, demanding the withdrawal of the Centre’s three agricultural reform laws.
Farmers and traders have alleged that the government wants to discontinue the minimum support price regime in the name of reforms. They fear that the laws will leave them at the mercy of corporate powers. The government has maintained that farm laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.