’How can we release the money, if we don’t win the Assembly elections?’
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, January 28: Sounding the bugle for the ensuing municipal and town committee elections, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today announced a series of sops aimed at luring the voter.
Gogoi even sought to link the civic polls with the 2016 Assembly elections, promising a package of Rs 1,000 crore for development of towns if the Congress retains power in the State for the fourth consecutive time.
“How can we release the money, if we don’t win the elections (assembly)?”, was his tongue–in–cheek comment at a press conference on Wednesday at Rajiv Bhavan.
The Chief Minister claimed that during the last five years “a lot of work has been done for town area development.”
“The previous governments could not give fincial assistance to town committees and municipal boards. In fact, they could not even pay salaries to the employees of these committees and boards. We are now ensuring regular payment of salaries to the employees which are at par with government scale,” Gogoi added.
He also pointed out that the State government has spent around Rs 500 crore during the last five years for developing civic amenities in the towns.
The Chief Minister also said that an Urban Development Authority will be constituted in the State to prepare schemes for developing urban areas.
“We intend to build modern market places, enhance car parking facilities and develop slum areas. We have also announced a one–time assistance of Rs 25,000 to homeless families who are not covered under Indira Awas Yoja (IAY). We will also provide low interest loans to sections like rickshaw and cart pullers and introduce a separate development scheme for them,” the Chief Minister assured.
Taking a dig at Prime Minister rendra Modi, Gogoi said the Central government is planning smart cities in some select places, but “we plan to develop all the town areas.”
“Every town should have playfields, coaching centres, draige system and other basic facilities. There should be WiFi connectivity in bus stands and market places,” he said.
Gogoi also claimed that the Congress will win at least 50 of the 74 town committee and municipal boards for which elections will be held on 9 February next.