Development holds the key
GUWAHATI: Lack of border area development activities is one of the reasons behind the encroachment of Assam land by its neighbouring states. The age-old allegation of Assam neglecting border area development reflects in the annual budgetary allocations of the government for border area development. On the contrary, the neighbouring states carry out comparatively more development activities in bordering areas than Assam.
Due to the development of the bordering areas in the neighbouring states, the fringe dwellers of Assam often want to side with the neighbouring states while resolving border disputes. It is not all. A section of fringe dwellers of Assam avails of the benefits like electrification, water supply, schooling, healthcare etc., of schemes undertaken in boundary areas by the neighbouring states.
The budgetary allocation of Assam for border area development in fiscal 2121-22 is Rs 72.74 crore. This amount is too meagre to carry out development activities in the long inter-state and international border the state shares with its neighbouring states and nations. The breakup of this budgetary allocation is – Rs 2.95 crore for BOPs (border outposts), Rs 3.20 crore for border area development activities and Rs 66.35 crore for the BADP (Border Area Development Programme).
Significantly, Assam's budgetary allocation for border area development came down to Rs 53.61 crore in fiscal 2022-23, the breakup being Rs 1.90 crore for BOPs, Rs 14.25 crore for border area development activities and Rs 37.46 crore for the BADP.
Coming to the helm of affairs in May 2021, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took measures to resolve Assam's inter-state boundary issues with its neighbouring states. The Chief Minister's pro-active measures for settling inter-state boundary issues will get an impetus if his government allocates adequate funds for border area development in its annual budgets.