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Gogoi fires a salvo at BJP-led government on a slew of issues

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 Oct 2016 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 12: Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has raised a number of issues, including revocation of newly created districts, move to amend the Citizenship Act and the delay in the NRC update process, that may catch the BJP-led dispensation at Dispur on the wrong foot.

Beginning with the revocation of the creation of two new districts – East Kamrup and South Kamrup – Gogoi told newsmen here: “I feel distressed at the revocation of the two new districts created by my government. The revocation of the two new districts on the pretext of lack of infrastructure for a district has no takers. There are few who are ready to accept it at its face value. Of late, the BJP-led government at Dispur has also declared Majuli as a district even though it has no infrastructure befitting a district. I’m not opposing the declaration of Majuli as a district. What I want to get across is: Dispur’s decision to revoke the creation of East Kamrup and South Kamrup districts for, what the BJP government in the State says, lack of infrastructure isn’t teble. My government did take various organizations, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the AGP, into confidence while declaring the new districts. The people of East Kamrup and South Kamrup are a worried lot now. They’ve taken to the streets.”

On infrastructure, Gogoi said: “When the capital of Assam was shifted to Guwahati from Shillong during the regime of Sarat Sinha there was no infrastructure here at all. Godowns of tea leaves were emptied to make room for Assam Secretariat. Infrastructure came up slowly later on. When a new district is created, there’s little infrastructure befitting a district. Infrastructure has to be developed slowly. I still appeal to the new dispensation at Dispur to rollback the revocation of the declaration of East Kamrup and South Kamrup districts.”

On skill development in Assam, Gogoi said: “Though the Centre is seen to lay more stress on skill development, the situation is just the opposite in Assam. With the BJP coming to power at Dispur, the rate of self-employment is on a falling trend in the State. This is despite the fact that before the last Assembly elections in Assam, the BJP did promise to provide job avenues to 25 lakh unemployed youths of the State. Going by that rate, at least five lakh unemployed youths of the State should be provided job opportunities every year, but that’s not happening. Under the new government at Dispur, even people working as or under carpenters and masons aren’t getting jobs as the contractors of the State have stopped construction of roads, bridges and irrigation projects etc., due to failure on the part of the government to clear their pending bills. This is not all. Brick kilns have stopped production and the sale in the market isn’t brisk as it was before.”

“When Prime Minister rendra Modi came at the helm of affairs in 2014, the pace of development started slowing down in Assam. The lack of support from the Centre did paralyse two years of my government. However, the people of the State mistook that as our fault. With the BJP coming to power at Dispur, the development of the State slowed down further. In the me of skill development this government has introduced the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Yojo. A mere change in the me of a scheme doesn’t do anything worthwhile unless there’s flow of funds so as to hone the skill of the human resources available in a State,” the former Chief Minister of the State went on saying.

Of late eviction of encroachers is a hotly debated issue in Assam. Gogoi said: “There should be a proper survey on encroachers in forest and other types of lands in the State. Frankly speaking, we couldn’t get the job done. What’s the present government’s policy of encroachment? They’ve no clear-cut policy of eviction of encroachers. When the eviction of encroachers becomes a choose-and-pick affair, it doesn’t augur well. Carrying out any eviction drive based on faiths is an injustice.”

Without ming Kaziranga tiol Park (KNP), Gogoi said: “If anybody has tea estates or resorts near reserved forest areas that should also be evicted. I don’t want to me, but I’ve reports that many politicians do have tea estates.”

When the press wanted to know if State Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has any tea estate near the KNP, Gogoi said: “I’m yet to verify it.”

Reacting to a statement made by Himanta Biswa Sarma recently that – where Hindus coming from Bangladesh will go other than India – Gogoi said: “Such a statement doesn’t augur well for an education minister of a state. The Preamble of the Constitution of India spells it out clearly that India as a secular country. Dividing the people of the country on religious line doesn’t look fair for an education minister.”

On the foreigner issue, Gogoi said: “The slogan of the BJP in the run-up to the last Assembly election in the State was deportation of foreigners from Assam. Let the BJP-led government at Dispur spell it out as to how many foreigners have been deported from the State in the past three months. Let them pin point the reason as to why the NRC update work has slowed down. They talk of NRC update, but I don’t see them taking the issue seriously.”

On the Centre’s move to amend the Citizenship Act so as to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs and Jains from Bangladesh and Pakistan Gogoi said: “The Centre isn’t serious on the problems of Assam. In fact, they’ve failed to gauge the sentiment of the people of Assam. The State government should’ve discussed the issue with all organizations of the State. The AGP that signed the Assam Accord is conspicuous by its silence on the issue. The move to amend the Citizenship Act goes against the Assam Accord. Among the whole AGP lot, only former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta is vocal on the issue.”

Without ming the AASU, Gogoi said: “There’re many organizations that should raise their voice on the issue of amendment to the Citizenship Act so as to protect the interests of the people of Assam. We’re also a tiol political party. Whether in power or in Opposition, we don’t compromise on the interests of the State.”

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