By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 25: A clear mandate for the BJP-led alliance - which comprises leaders of the AGP and AASU as well - has rekindled hopes for proactive steps to implement the Assam Accord in letter and spirit.
More than thirty years after the accord was signed, several clauses still remain on paper - with the previous governments sharing the blame for being laggard in implementing them.
Besides the 44.584-km riverine border between Assam and Bangladesh, another 6.374 km is also open.
A stretch of 3.5 km of the intertiol border in Karimganj remains open. However, land acquisition has been completed and the NBCC has been entrusted with the job of erecting a one-line fencing in the stretch.
In the disputed Lathitila-Dumabari sector, a stretch of 2.874 km is unfenced. The dispute over territory in the area has dragged on far too long.
Though floodlights have been installed along the Assam-Bangladesh border, they are yet to be connected with power supply.
The definition of 'Assamese' also continues to elude the State. Without the definition of indigenous Assamese, Clause 6 of the accord which envisages constitutiol safeguard to the Assamese will remain ambiguous.
Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi had taken an initiative during the previous government to come up with a definition. After consulting various stakeholders, he had proposed 1951 as the base year for framing the definition of indigenous people. But the Tarun Gogoi government did not accept his recommendations.
During the historic six-year Assam Agitation, 855 people had lost their lives and 404 others were injured. In all, 519 persons - including kin of the martyrs and the injured - have been given government jobs. But 890 others are yet to get any employment though it was assured in the accord.
With the BJP promising in its manifesto that implementation of the Assam Accord will be one of its priorities, there are fresh hopes that the clauses would be implemented soon.
Before taking the oath as the Chief Minister, Sarbanda Sonowal had assured that the intertiol border would be sealed within two years.
The BJP alliance government is being seen as the best possible dispensation to implement not only the Assam Accord, but also for resolving questions on threat to indigenous identity and the dire necessity of a foreigner-free NRC.
For the last thirty years, the State and Centre has been indulging in a blame game over non-implementation of some clauses of the Assam Accord - like fencing the Indo-Bangladesh border, providing constitutiol, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people, and freeing tribal blocks and belts and government land from encroachment.
For the next five years at least, neither the NDA government at the Centre nor the BJP-led government in the State can lay the blame at the other's door for any delay in implementing the Assam Accord in letter and spirit.