SILCHAR, March 14 - The State Budget 2018 presented by Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma reflected the government�s goodwill to accelerate a balanced pace of development in Barak and Brahmaputra valleys. However, citizens of Barak Valley have reacted cautiously to the promises.
While a section of professionals of the valley greeted the Budget with enthusiasm, others felt that the provisions have been made with an eye on the forthcoming panchayat elections in the State.
Although a flurry of upcoming projects for Karimganj has been announced in the Budget including the much-awaited medical college, new women�s college in the border town predominantly in the minority areas, installation of flood lights in sport stadium, Dr Sujay Das, a resident of Karimganj and faculty at Women�s College Silchar, however, feels that development of the existing educational institutes was necessary before allocating funds to set up new colleges. �Being an inhabitant of Karimganj district, I am happy with the contents of the Budget, especially for Barak Valley. I welcome the initiatives taken by the government to strengthen the education and health infrastructure which are calling for attention,� Dr Das maintained.
Dr Apratim Nag, faculty at Guru Charan College Silchar feels that the Government has made an attempt to justify its rhetoric �equal progress of Barak and Brahmaputra valley.� However, proper implementation of the promises will reflect the intent in the coming days, he said.
In the words of Pranabananda Das, a journalist based in Silchar, the Budget placed by the Finance Minister is actually a presentation of �old wine in a new bottle.� Das went on to mention that at a time when the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, despite in its 50th year, is struggling to offer services with two of the vital departments � Cardiology and Trauma centre lying defunct, merely constructing building are least likely to solve the crisis. �There are no updates available on the implementation of the Budget provisions of 2017. No one is aware of the status of the Mini Secretariat, there is information available on the utilization of Rs 250 crore meant for development of cities like Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Silchar. It is clearly a Budget prepared with no logical economics. The government is trying to please the rural population ahead of the panchayat elections in the State. Can the government bring doctors to work at the Karimganj medical College?� Das said.
Meanwhile, speaking on the economic perspective of the Budget, Gaurav Chakraborty, manager at State Bank of India at NIT branch said, �Even as the scope is wide, it is a deficit Budget. However, there has been very little done on the industrial front. The credit-deposit ratio (CD) would be hampered.�
Noted cultural activist Soumitra Shankar Choudhury hailed the Budget provisions meant for Barak Valley but maintained a sceptic view regarding its implementation.