8 months OF SONOWAL REGIME
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
SILCHAR, Feb 23: People of Barak Valley can hardly forget the nightmare of 15 years of Congress rule. Four ministers, a number of parliamentary secretaries and MLAs of the ruling party laid foundation stones for development projects only to disappear later.
According to a rough estimate, 11 industrial units including the only Central undertaking Cachar Paper Mill in Barak Valley became sick and almost defunct. Attempts are being made by the present BJP-led State government in coordition with the Centre for revival of the Paper Mill.
Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi dangled before gullible people of this valley packages of crores of rupees for development just on the eve of parliamentary and assembly elections, which never saw the light of day. Road, rail and air connectivity to Barak Valley was put on back burner. The atrocious conditions of tiol highways and roads, the untold sufferings caused thereby to people, were completely ignored. The media highlighted these umpteen times, but had no impact on Dispur. Filly, through the battle of ballot, the rule of Congress was given a burial.
With the coming to power of Sarbanda Sonowal-led BJP government at Dispur, Barak Valley is now in for a new dawn and vista of development. The very poll plank of BJP was ‘development’ and with that refrain the work started. It is a herculean job to give new shape to roads and highways here. Parimal Shuklabaidya, State PWD Minister, has given thrust to it, assuring of phased improvement of 28 roads of Silchar town, besides of the network of roads and highways in all the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi.
People of this town are elated at the dream flyover from Tarapur to Rangirkhari in order to regulate the ever burgeoning traffic. Shuklabaidya, after taking over charge, spoke at a reception given to him by Silchar Municipal Board — about the hurdles he faced from a lobby controlled by the Congress. The huge arrears of pending bills of contractors had to be cleared. The PWD was left in a mess. It had become a cesspool of corruption. It was like clearing the Augean stables. But he was determined to do it, Shuklabaidya had asserted then.
Now, nothing can stop the process of development. All roads will be concrete for which a package of Rs 2,000 crore has been earmarked. It is a strange travesty of fact that after Independence and during long Congress rule, only 330 km of highways has been completed in this part of the country. The Sarbanda Sonowal government, Parimal Shuklabaidya revealed, has declared construction of 298 km of new highways. These are scheduled for completion within a year.
It is also recalled how the project of East-West Corridor taken up during the Vajpayee Government was scoffed at by the Congress. The work started, but hurdle was created on account of a wildlife sanctuary on a 31 sq. km stretch of the corridor between Balacherra and Harangajao in the hills of Borail. It has been cleared now. East-West Corridor will be ready soon.
In the me of development of roads, the erstwhile Tarun Gogoi government left behind a burden of debt of Rs 2200 crore on PWD. There has been a sea change since, all for the better. BG connectivity has become a reality, connecting this valley with rest of the country and its network now is reaching the hinterland of Northeast. Meanwhile, air connectivity has been given a new boost with more flights operating from Kumbhirgram Airport. From the logjam of Congress, it is now a speedy drive for communication towards a better tomorrow.