Dispur teetering over fincial chasm

Ceilings to be issued only on 1st week every month; Issue branch even lacking stamps to dispatch letters

Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Sept 5: The chill wind blowing across Dispur over the State's poor finces is likely to get even more biting in the days ahead. Putting the Tarun Gogoi government in a tight spot, the Appropriation Bill passed in the monsoon session of the Assembly is now stuck in the Raj Bhawan.

Fince department sources said Governor PB Acharya has not yet given his assent to the bill till September 3. The government had passed the Appropriation Bill for supplementary demands of Rs 2,036 crore on August 12 last, after which it was sent to Raj Bhavan.

Without the Governor’s assent, the Fince department cannot issue the notification for the Bill. Generally, Raj Bhavan gives its assent to the bill within a day or two of its passing in the House.

The State government is already in a quandary as the NITI Aayog has not approved the plan allocation for this fincial year for the State. The government had estimated the plan at Rs 25,000 crore.

Due to the uncertainty, the State government is not clearing fresh proposals. The Fince department is sitting on a number of fresh proposals – even those under Plan heads - from the departments.

So acute is the crisis that the Issue Branch of the Secretariat is now even facing a shortage of stamps to dispatch letters. “Due to lack of funds, we are uble to procure postage stamps. While some letters are being returned to the senders, important communications are being dispatched by Issue Branch employees who are paying for stamps from their own pockets,” official sources said.

To cut down the spending, the Fince department has decided to issue ceilings only in the first week of the month.

“There are standing instructions that the Fince department will henceforth issue ceilings only during first seven days of the month. This instruction will be effective from September itself and will continue until further orders,” sources informed.

The Sentinel had on Saturday reported that the government is yet to release the first installment of the MLA area development funds for this fiscal.

While all development activities have come to a standstill, sources said that with only seven months to go before the State goes to polls, the Congress government is desperate to ensure that payment of salaries of the employees is not affected due to the fincial crisis.

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