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Actual work to begin after Lok Sabha polls: Pillai

By R Dutta choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 1 � The real work of the committee formed by the Government of India to examine the feasibility of the demand for creation of a separate state of Bodoland will work only after the Lok Sabha elections. However, former Home Secretary GK Pillai, who is heading the committee, will start preliminary work with a visit to Kokrajhar on March 4.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Pillai said that he would visit Kokrajhar on March 4 and hold talks with leaders of all the communities and organisations to have a basic idea of the situation. He revealed that he has already requested the Deputy Commissioner of Kokrajhar to inform leaders of different groups as he is planning to ascertain the views of all the stakeholders to start the work assigned to him. He will also meet representatives of the Assam Government during the visit.

The former Home Secretary admitted that the main purpose of his ensuing visit would be only to have preliminary talks and inform all the groups concerned that the real work with detailed hearings would only start after the elections. The Government also knows that it would not be possible for the committee to work properly once the elections are announced and that is why nine months� time has been given to the committee to complete the report. Even after the elections, the committee will have at least six months to work on the assigned task through detailed hearings from all the groups concerned, he added.

Pillai further pointed out that after the elections, the new Government would have to endorse the committee and it remains to be seen whether there would be a change of policy of the new Government on the issue. If the same policy is adopted by the new Government after the elections, six months should be enough time to finalize the report, he added.

Pillai refused to be drawn into the controversy regarding opposition of formation of the committee by some groups including the All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU). However, on the contention of the groups opposing the committee that no such committee was formed before creation of Telengana, he said that the Government of India had created Justice Srikrishna committee to study the feasibility of the demand for Telengana.

Pillai is known to be well versed with the situation in Assam as he had served as the Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs before taking over as the Union Home Secretary. He was involved in the process of creation of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and as the Union Home Secretary he spent days in Kokrajhar assessing the performance of the BTC. Pillai also admitted that his past experience of working in the area would help him in carrying out his new assignment.

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