GUWAHATI: The 82nd foundation anniversary of the Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA) turned out to be a brainstorming session on Sunday when Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami and others felt the dire necessity of an Upper House (Assam Legislative Council) in the State Assembly, making it a bicameral one.
Addressing the august gathering, Speaker Goswami said: “An Assam Legislative Council (ALC) can let us raise various problems at the right fora and help solve problems. There’re various communities who are not represented in the Legislative Assembly. There’re many intellectuals in the State whose presence in this august House is indispensible. However, such intellectuals are not interested for electoral politics. An Upper House can solve a number of such problems through fair representation.”
The Speaker, however, issued a note of caution against Upper Houses being used as (political) rehabilitation centres. “The Elders’ House we aspire to, however, shouldn’t be used as a rehabilitation centre.”
The Speaker further said: “Legislators need to be strong and skilled. With this, I don’t mean to say that the present legislators are not skilled and strong. What I mean to say is that we need to be stronger and more skilled. Solely depending on bureaucrats won’t serve the purpose, if the legislators are not strong. In order to make this House an alluring one, we need young and skilled legislators. This is the reason why, under the Speaker’s initiative, we’ve started the system of students visiting Assembly sessions and their interactions with the Speaker, the Chief Minister, ministers, the Leader of Opposition and others.”
Former minister Thaneswar Boro also felt the necessity of an Elders’ House in the State Assembly. “There’re many autonomous councils in Assam, and a number of others have lined up seeking similar status. A question that continues to haunt us is: if so many councils are formed in the State, with whom the government will run? Can’t we satisfy the needs of the ethnic communities seeking autonomous councils with an Assam Legislative Council, ensuring fair presentation of all communities? Such a move, if becomes a reality, will solve a lot of problems. In fact, it can even put an end to a whole lot of agitations on the street.”
Former Bihar Governor Devanand Konwar was also present at the programme. Besides Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, former MLA Mridula Saharia and others dwelt on the history of the ALA, and linked it with the present situation so as to bridge it with the future.
Earlier, while ALA Principal Secretary MK Deka delivered the welcome address, former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta released the souvenir on the occasion – Axom Bidhan Xabha.
Meanwhile, a number of awards, including the Best Legislator Award, were given away at the function. While the ALA Best Legislator Award went to Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Qasimi of the AIUDF, the Best ALA Employee Award went to ALA committee officer Madhab Chetry. MLA Qasimi dedicated the award money of Rs 1 lakh he received to the trust meant for the Pulwami martyrs.
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