By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, August 19: Assam Pradesh Congress Committee in-charge president and MP Ripun Bora has demanded of Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal to tender an abject apology before the people of Majuli, the Xatradhikars and the people of Assam for misleading them on the plan to construct bridges across the Brahmaputra in Assam connecting Disangmukh (Sivasagar) to Takeliphuta (Lakhimpur), Nimati Ghat (Jorhat) to Kamalabari (Majuli) and Gohpur to Numaligarh (Bokakhat).
Talking to newsmen at Rajiv Bhavan in the city today, Bora said: "In order to woo the voters of the State in the run-up to the last Assembly elections Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stones of the project in haste without any approval of the project. I raised a question in the Rajya Sabha on August 8, 2016 asking the minister concerned 'whether the government has any plan to construct bridges across the river Brahmaputra connecting Disang Mukh to Takeliphuta, Nimatighat to Kamalabari and Gohpur to Numaligarh. If so, whether the survey has been undertaken and the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) have been prepared, and when the work will be started. However, the reply given by Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh L Mandaviya is startling. He said that work for feasibility study and preparation of DPRs for construction of two-lane roads of tiol highway standard, including construction of bridges, has been taken up by Assam Public Works Department (PWD) for along the route Sivasagar-Disangmukh-Takelipguta-North Lakhimpur-Kamalabari-Nimatighat, and by the tiol Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited for construction of bridge connecting Gohpur-Numaligarh across the Brahmaputra. The Union minister, however, said that civil work can only be started after completion of feasibility study, DPRs, land acquisition, forest and environment clearances and shifting of utilities etc."
Bora said that the work of the project is yet to be started. "If this is the ground reality, why should Dispur and the Centre mislead the people of the State that the work of the project is in progress?" Bora said.
On the sudden hike in cement prices in the State, Bora said this was because the BJP had taken funds from cement industry in the last election, and after coming to power it had no way out but to allow the industry take the money from the market. "Checking price rise, right from LPG to fruits and vegetable, was one of the election issues of the BJP. But after coming to power, the Centre has set a record in the past 23 months. The inflation of wholesale rate in the past 23 months has been 1.62 per cent to 3.55 per cent. If this trend continues, in this term of the BJP government it will be around 8 per cent. No arrangement has been made by Modi government to give the people any succour," Bora said, and added: "During the UPA regime in 2013 the intertiol price of crude oil was US $ 150 a barrel and the price of diesel was Rs 53 a litre and that of petrol was Rs 74 a litre. In 2015, the intertiol price of crude oil was US $ 46 a barrel, and the price of petrol, according to world economists, should've been Rs 33.34 a litre in India. The Modi government has hiked excise duty as many as nine times. This government is anti-people and anti-poor. They're friends of capitalists and corporate sector."
The MP further said: "Assam Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has also misled the State Assembly. When VAT was hiked by one per cent, he had said that it wouldn't hike the MRP. However, it has been seen now that the hike in VAT has also hiked the MRP."
Bora came down heavily on State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's statement that all schools in the State under the SEBA would be taken under the CBSE. "This is a ploy to weaken the SEBA," he said.