Would you wanted a Divided Assam?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lets not give corruption a chance by dividing the state of Assam.

It is a question that is blatant in my mind, especially after the much publicized Rs. 1000 crores NC Hills scam. Is money the reason for the powerful leaders to demand for new states to get direct access to government budgets?

I remember getting disturbed over the alleged Rs. 100 crores LOC scam involving the veterinary department during Mr. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta government. But the NC Hills scam is 10 times bigger, and is involving multiple departments.

From one of the statements of the then AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary, it may be true that the scam would be several times higher than Rs. 1000 crores. He had said that the CAG audit had covered financial transactions of only eight departments of the council — PHC, agriculture, forest, social welfare, PWD, education, medical and police from 2007-08 to June 12, 2009. During that period, the government gave Rs. 272,64,23,000 as excess funds without any budget (documents were not disclosed to the CAG). The scam could be much bigger if the financial transactions of all the 30 departments under the NC Hills autonomous council are audited.

There is another way to look at this matter. Getting excess funds above the budgetary limits can prove a boon to the society if the leaders utilize those funds for the welfare of the citizens. Have we seen any significant social, economic and infrastructure development in Dima Hasao districts in the period of the scam. The answer is sadly no.

The conscious people of Dima Hasao had welcomed the team from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with the hope that they would be able to punish the corrupt people who have gobbled up funds meant for the poor people of the district.

We appeal to this set of conscious people that breaking the state of Assam into smaller states will only increase these incidences of corruption. Accountability and citizen activism takes a long time to build in a society. United Assam has an established opposition, citizen bodies and leaders like Akhil Gogoi who help in keeping the ruling government in check. We need to build on that and create a better united Assam not only for the balance growth of the state, but also to negotiate and demand better cooperation from the Central government. 

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