Racket out to deprive local jobless of development councils' works?

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 18: What is the point in indulging in flights of fancy about outside companies when Assam cannot even provide local jobless people with jobs to get themselves established. Unemployment is considered as the mother of all problems by all and sundry in Assam. Providing jobs to the local skilled and unskilled work force is beyond the capacity of the government at Dispur. In such a situation, self-employment like supplying raw materials for construction and running construction companies and enterprises, and the like absorbs a large number of unemployed in the State. However, of late, a section of top-level bureaucrats has been out to provide such works to outside companies, depriving the local jobless. And this move is seemingly going on under the very nose of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who also holds the Fince portfolio.

According to sources in the 19 development councils of the state, a Fince Secretary, the WPT & BC Commissioner-Secretary and the WPT & BC Director are the brains behind the move that is set to deprive the locals of works worth crores of rupees under the 19 development councils of the state. The move, if materialized, sources in the development councils said, will only add to the ever-aggravating unemployment problem in the state.

It so happened that funds for the 19 development councils of fiscal 2014-15 amounting to crores of rupees have been deposited in DD account of the Directorate of WPT & BC, but the director is not releasing the funds to the development councils. However, an Additiol Secretary of WPT & BC Department issued a guidelines for utilization of Plan funds on May 8 this year. The guidelines have made it crystal clear that regardless of the sizes of schemes, all procurement of items involved in any scheme involving supply of materials, whether to be implemented by State Government line departments or by the Director of WPT & BC, shall be done through e-tendering process using NIC Assam State Unit's portal.

Apprehensive of this move, sources in the 19 development councils in the state say that the move is aimed at depriving the local suppliers and contractors of the job they have been doing over the years as e-tendering will only give such jobs to outside companies and agencies. "How come Dispur aliete local suppliers and workers on their own land?" sources in the council questioned.

Sources further say that such guidelines for utilization of funds usually comes from the Fince Department, not from individual departments like WPT&BC. "The guidelines also fall short of clarity if the schemes for fiscal 2014-15 will be e-tendered or not. If that is the case, three development councils - the Adivasi Development Council, the Sarania Kachari Development Council and the Amri Karbi Development Council - have already withdrawn 50 per cent of their funds. Why is this discrimition?" sources in other councils rued, and added: "A racket is out in the state to deprive local unemployed of local works in its lust for money from outsiders."

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