Goa CM Manohar Parrikar
Goa CM Manohar Parrikar presents budget in the state assembly.ANI

The Goa Assembly was disrupted on Friday over formalin-laced fish being sold in the state. Speaker Pramod Sawant adjourned the House till 2:30 pm after the opposition created a ruckus when he refused to cede to their demand for an adjournment motion to discuss the issue.

The controversy surrounding the use of formalin in fish has rocked the monsoon session ever since it began on Thursday.

Congress MLAs led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, refused to allow the Speaker to begin the day's proceedings with the Question Hour, demanding that he should allow the motion to discuss the formalin issue.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have found traces of formalin, a powerful disinfectant used to preserve cadavers, in fish being imported into Goa from other states for sale in retail markets. Kavlekar said:

This issue concerns the lives of most Goans who love fish. This has to be discussed before anything else.

Sawant and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar have criticised the opposition claiming they were trying to create a ruckus without any reason. "It is not right in the spirit of democracy to stop the proceedings of the House for the second day running. They did not even move a notice for adjournment motion and wasted the Question Hour, despite my repeated requests," Sawant said.

Instead of discussing the calling attention motion, they disrupted the House again. If they were serious, they should have participated in the discussion. They had demanded to increase the days of business at the House.

The Chief Minister said that the opposition MLAs were not aware of the rules of the House. He said that he would be making a statement on the formalin controversy in the House on Monday.

The Goa government on Wednesday had imposed a 15-day ban on import of fish from neighbouring states after the FDA found traces of formalin.

The BJP-led coalition government in the state has been on the backfoot ever since the controversy erupted, more so after two cabinet ministers - Town and Country Minister Vijai Sardesai and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane - tried to downplay the use of formalin in fish, claiming it was within "permissible limits".

The claim was busted by several experts including marine scientists at the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography.