By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, February 10: The friction between New Delhi and Dispur refuses to die down. On Tuesday, Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi crossed swords at a public function here.
Addressing the Assam-Intertiol Agri-Horticultural Show, Singh said the Centre and the State should work together to empower the farming community. “The number of farmers has been increasing, but cultivable land is shrinking. Importance has to be given to raising production. The Centre will make the policies, but it is up to the states to implement them properly. Many states are not utilizing funds properly,” Singh pointed out.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi hit back aggressively. During his speech, Gogoi stated, “We won’t necessarily toe Delhi’s line every time. Their job is to provide funds. The work (project implementation) will be done as we want.”
Gogoi said 75 per cent of the people in the State are dependent on agriculture. “While the Centre should be taking measures to develop the agriculture sector, it is instead laying more stress on industrialization. The need is to improve marketing facilities and get rid of the middlemen system,” he said. The Chief Minister also said schemes should be state-specific. “You cannot apply the same yardstick to all states. Every state has its peculiarities. Of course, when it comes to tiol interest we – and for that matter all states – are with Delhi,” he added.
Gogoi also dared the Centre to initiate CBI inquiries if there was any incidence of corruption in scheme implementation in Assam.
It may be mentioned that the Union Agriculture minister publicly pulled up senior State Agriculture department officials here recently in the presence of State Agriculture minister Rockybul Hussain, over non-submission of fund utilisation certificates for Central schemes, with only two months of the current fincial year remaining.
Meanwhile, Singh announced that an agricultural research institute will be set up in Assam for which the State government has pledged to provide land. He also informed that farmers who possess land will be provided with soil health magement cards, which will help them enhance productivity.