Revival of goan paper project
It is given to understand that Assam Government is taking up the matter with the Central government for the revival of the gaon paper project. Indeed, it is a welcome move. However, before the revival of the plant, the government of Assam as well as the people needs to know the following. Firstly, the plant was not shut-down due to loss. There had been no production loss due to lack of raw materials. It used to make sufficient profit every year. In fact, gaon plant gave dividend to the government of India. Quality of paper produced by the plant was of high standard. Then, question surfaces in everybody's mind, why the plant remains shut-down for last many months. The answer is, since its earnings were utilized for the sustence of the employees of 4-sick units under Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL) and also to maintain a big establishment in Kolkata, the gaon plant became bankrupt. The plant had to be put under shutdown for non-availability of money to purchase raw materials and necessary inputs required to run the plant. Interestingly, despite rampant corruptions at various levels from its very inception, it used to make huge profit every year.
Secondly, if the gaon plant has to be revived and also to run as a profit making organization, then it should be made an independent unit like that of Kerala news print plant under HPCL. It must maintain its own balance sheet. There has been logic to state that the people of a profit making plant should not suffer due to mismagement in other units. And without such pre-conditions, it is for sure that the plant will again fall sick. Assam government and Assamese people are on the fore front to pressurize the Centre for its revival, and, therefore, it is imperative to have some power with the Assam government to oversee the overall functioning of the plant from time to time. If the above power cannot be vested upon Assam government, at least, some sorts of checks and balances must be put in place. Otherwise, corrupt and vested interests would this time hijack it to hand over the plant to private party.
Simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and State assemblies
Frequent election hamper the growth the development of our country. A solution has to be found to reduce the frequency of elections which relieves the people and the government machinery, tired of frequent electoral process. Fortutely, during the first four general elections held in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967, there were simultaneous polls held throughout the country. But this cycle was disrupted in 1969, with the premature dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
We believe, election expenditures— both declared and government — in India are humongous. The total expenditure incurred in the last general elections comes to roughly about Rs 3,500 crore. This expenditure multiplies when different states go to polls at different times. If this expenditure could be curtailed and saved, by holding simultaneous election to Lok Sabha, state assemblies and parchayatiraj institutions (local bodies) only once at an interval of five years, that saved money could be utilized for the betterment of the poor of our country.
Satish Kumar Sarma,