Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Jan 30: The governments of the Northeastern states are not interested in the development of minorities, Union Minority Affairs Minister jma Heptullah said on Saturday.
The Union Minister also hit out at the Assam government, alleging lackadaisical attitude of Dispur towards her ministry's programmes and schemes.
Addressing a press conference at the end of a three-day tour of the State, Heptulla said, "The Congress government in the State is only talking about the minorities. It is not doing anything for their development."
The minister made this remark after none of the concerned ministers of the Northeastern states, except Assam, turned up at a review meeting of the Central ministry held in Guwahati on Saturday.
"We decided to hold a review meeting of the ministry in Guwahati so that ministers concerned from the Northeastern states face no difficulty to come and attend the meeting," Heptullah said at the press conference.
"However, none of the ministers concerned, except for the one in charge of Assam, attended the meeting today. This indicates that the governments in the Northeastern states are not interested in the development of minorities," she charged.
Expressing concern over the situation, the minister said there are large chunks of minority population in the Northeast including Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.
"The governments of Northeastern states often talk about the minorities but they are not interested in their development," she alleged.
Heptullah said the NE states, particularly Assam, also do not send project completion reports, which creates problems in releasing funds as next installments for future projects.
"I have been writing to the chief ministers of the Northeastern states for a long time to ease these problems but there has been no response," she said.
It was only when ministry officials visited Guwahati, could they mage to get the required papers, she said.
"The Northeastern states, particularly Assam, often complain that the Centre does not release funds for development activities. I would like to mention here that it was only last week that my ministry sanctioned Rs 128 crore," she said.
She further alleged that the State government has not submitted any proposal for development of Wakf property, even after repeated reminders.
Loan defaulters are also an area of concern in the State, she added, urging the State government to ensure better recovery.
The Minority Affairs Minister launched skill development programmes for madrassas and women capacity building and empowerment programmes during her tour of the State.