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Letters to THE EDITOR

ST Status to Koch Rajbanshis

The Koch Rajbanshi community of Assam was granted ST status on January 27,1996 through an Ordinance which was repromulgamated twice and ultimately lapsed due to the failure of the Government of India (GOI) to pass the Bill to that effect in the Parliament. Perhaps this is the only community in India to have faced such a humiliation. Prior to this, the Tribal Research Institute of Assam had remarked that the Koch Rajbanshi community fulfilled all the criteria earmarked for scheduling a community. Having been satisfied with this report, the Registrar General of India (RGI) also submitted a no-objection to the Government of India. But due to vehement opposition by some Members of Parliament, a select committee with eight MPs as members was constituted under the chairmanship of Sri Amar Ray Pradhan, which after extensive tour in the Koch Rajbanshi-dominated area recommended the scheduling of the community. Under such circumstances, the decision of the present govenrment to frame fresh modalities is preposterous. Moreover, the statement of the Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram during his recent visit that the six communities would have to wait for forty years for getting ST status is irresponsible. It has greatly incensed the Koch Rajbanshis as their case is quite different from the other five communities as revealed by the above facts. Therefore, the urgent task of the BJP Government is to place a Bill in keeping with the recommendations of the Amar Ray Pradhan Committee and get it passed in the ensuing session of the Parliament, thereby keeping its poll promises made during 2014 election.

Dr MN Ray,
Khanapara, Guwahati.

An Unpalatable Truth

As days roll by the real image of the BJP-led government in Assam starts unfolding. It was Parimal Shukla Baidya who first blazed the trail when he was the PWD Minister calling a spade a spade that there was no fund to undertake the vast works of repairing the dilapidated roads. This time, the same fact is corroborated by his incumbent, proposing to curtail a portion of the MLA’s Local Area Development (MLALAD) funds to amass Rs. 5,000 crore needed to complete the work. The minister holding the Finance portfolio hitherto kept on saying that there is no dearth of funds for carrying out development works. A time was there when all people of the State were swept away by the fire-and-brimstone speech of the Prime Minister taking every word pronounced for granted, little realizing that such a saddening day would be seen by them. Even the order of the Chief Minister to repair roads of Dibrugarh could not be carried out properly by PWD engineers. Poor are the engineers of Dibrugarh PWD! One must sympathize with them. These poor engineers of Dibrugarh PWD, when they have opulent funds, scratch their heads to find out ways and means to set aside a good chunk for their family. In doing so some of them have already run into rough weather, finding them behind bars and some waiting for their turn. But all said and done, a ray of hope is flickering in the minds of the people that the long-cherished Bogibeel Bridge is nearing completion. If the Congress were in power, it would have been a chimera.

Ashok Bordoloi,
Dibrugarh.

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