As Dispur and New Delhi play blame game, thousands of families facing destitution
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Nov 10: A few days back, The Sentinel reported that many town committees and municipalities of the State are not paying salaries to employees since April this year due to non release of funds by Dispur. Now it has come to light that the District Rural Development Agency is also stuck in the same boat. The situation is so bad that in some districts, DRDA salaries have been pending since September last year, whereas in some districts, employees have not received salaries since September this year. The only district where DRDA employees are receiving salaries regularly till date is Chirang.
At a time when high prices of essential commodities are taking a huge toll on common households, it is frightening how thousands of DRDA employees are meeting family expenses without being paid for their work for months on ends. However, the Dispur is washing its hands off the matter by laying the blame squarely on the Central government, instead of putting pressure for release of funds. The State government alleges that ever since the NDA came to power, it has not released any funds for the DRDA, for which reason it is uble to pay salaries to employees.
It may be mentioned that a part of the DRDA salary budget is paid by the Centre whereas the remaining part is paid by the State government.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi who often claims he is a fighter and will wrest every penny due to Assam from New Delhi, has failed miserably in taking up with the Central government the issue of releasing funds outstanding for the DRDA.
Because of this acute fincial crisis, most Project Directors of the DRDA who are officers from the Assam Civil Services, are presently working without salary.
The situation would have been different had the State government walked the talk of merging the DRDAs with the Zila Parishads on grounds of principle. Had it come about, the salaries of DRDA employees would have been disbursed from the funds of Panchayat and Rural Development department.
Meanwhile, families of thousands of DRDA employees are leading a hand-to-mouth existence, without any realistic hopes of their acute hardship ending anytime soon. Facing destitution, these families find Dispur and New Delhi equally far off and blind to their misery, even as the governments at the Centre and the State keep laying the blame at each other’s door.