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Call for action plan to make State self-sufficient

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, May 4 - Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown brought into focus the weaknesses of Assam and the Government should chalk out plans to deal with the shortcomings. This was the view expressed by most of the prominent citizens contacted by the Government to take suggestions on the issue of lockdown and revival of the economic health of the State.

The State Government has reached out to a number of prominent citizens in the last few days to take their suggestions. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal called up more than a hundred persons, while, his media adviser Hrishikesh Goswami visited the residences of at least 20 prominent personalities of the State to obtain their views on dealing with the present situation created by the lockdown.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Goswami said that at this hour of crisis, apart from obtaining the suggestions of the prominent persons, it is also the responsibility of the Government to reach out to elderly persons to check whether they faced any problems during the lockdown.

On the suggestions offered by prominent persons of the State, Goswami said that most of them suggested that as the lockdown brought into focus the weak points of the State, immediate steps should be taken to deal with it. The lockdown exposed the fact that the State is still heavily dependent on other states for essential commodities and most of the prominent persons of the State suggested the need for chalking out action plan to make the State self-sufficient.

Goswami said most of the persons contacted by the Government had supported the lockdown to save human lives, but at the same time, warned that the present situation may lead to severe inflation.

�Several senior citizens had pointed out that Assam faced serious inflation during the Second World War and suggested that the Government will have to take effective steps to deal with price rise,� he added.

As construction activities are likely to start soon, most of the prominent persons contacted by the Government suggested proper screening of the labourers to prevent spread of COVID-19 and to ensure that anyone coming from the Red Zones to work in the construction sites should be thoroughly checked. They suggested that efforts must be given to give a boost to the agriculture sector. With the rainy season approaching, it was suggested that the Government should work on construction of the flood control structures on war footing.

As there is a possibility of a large number of migrant workers from Assam returning home from other states of the country, it was suggested that the Government should try to engage them in agriculture and allied services, while, at the same time, they can be engaged in small scale industries. The prominent citizens advised the government to chalk out plans for the future of the students as the educational institutions are closed for a long time.

Goswami pointed out that following a meeting with economists, the Chief Minister has already formed a committee to suggest measures for revival of the economy. He said that as there was apprehension of communal disturbance, the Chief Minister held a meeting of the religious leaders to deal with the situation.

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