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What’s Stopping Sarbananda Sonowal From Being A Taskmaster?

Sarbananda Sonowal

GUWAHATI: It is three years since the BJP-led Sarbananda Sonowal government has been in office at Dispur. Nonetheless, it has yet to instill the right attitude towards work and policy implementation among a section of ministers and bureaucrats. This runs counter to the expectation of the people from the BJP-led dispensation, a party that stormed into the corridors of power with promises galore.

The snail’s pace of progress in the implementation of schemes and projects has led to a whole lot of problems in the State such as poor roads, breaches in embankments, erosion gobbling up lands in many areas, lack of potable water, and a poor and pathetic irrigation system, to mention just a few.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal keeps organizing review meetings of various departments towards implementation of plans and policies, but he fails to get reports as to whether any meaningful work has been done on the ground or not even after months have elapsed. This defeats the very purpose of such meetings.

A few ministers falling in this category have been seen to spend far more time in their respective constituencies rather than discharging their responsibilities at Dispur. As they are ministers, they ought to serve the populace of the entire State, not just of their respective constituencies.

For instance, if a breached embankment is to be repaired, it has to be accomplished well ahead of the onset of monsoon. But this is just not happening in the State. And it is because of such lackadaisical attitude that the public at large have to suffer for no fault of theirs.

What is leading to such tardy pace of schemes and projects in the State?

As usual, a section of bureaucrats are smart enough to paint a rosy picture of the progress of projects and schemes even as the actual scenario on the ground is quite different – dismal and discouraging.

The fact of the matter is that work culture in the State – which is still in huge deficit – is not going to improve unless the Chief Minister evolves into a strict disciplinarian without giving a section of his ministerial colleagues the kind of leeway they now enjoy. As a matter of fact, if the performance of a minister is below par, the Chief Minister should summon the courage to remove him/her in the greater interest of development of the State.

Sources at Dispur say that one of the reasons for the tardy progress of project works in Assam is fund crunch – from the Centre as well as the one being generated within the State. On the other hand, a number of centrally-sponsored schemes and projects had to be shelved by the Centre due to the failure on the part of the departments concerned to complete them within their stipulated time. This is not only unfortunate but reflective of the lack of will on the part of the powers-that-be to serve the people. And this also militates against the spirit of democracy.

Will Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal pay heed to the unbecoming of governance at the service of the people that way and break a new ground in the matter of governance and administration? He is being watched.

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