GUWAHATI, May 4 � Accusing the BJP government at the Centre of taking the people of Assam for a ride, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that all the ten highway projects announced by Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari were, in fact, sanctioned long back and the present Central government had absolutely no role in facilitating those projects.
Gadkari had on May 2 announced ten mega highway projects in the State at a cost of Rs 8,000 crore � including a few under implementation.
Addressing a press conference, Gogoi said all the ten projects were sanctioned between 2005-10, some of those after a lot of persuasion by the Chief Minister himself.
�It was me who took up the matter of extending the four-lane highway up to Dibrugarh, following which it was decided to be executed under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programmed for North Eastern Region (SARDPNE). It was not under the East-West Corridor,� he said.
Gogoi added that the four bridges sanctioned over the Brahmaputra, too, were done earlier.
Gogoi further said that implementation of the four-lane highway progressed at a snail�s pace during the erstwhile BJP-led NDA regime at the Centre. �A meagre 10-odd kilometre stretch from Jalukbari to Khanapara was completed when the NDA was in power,� he said.
Accusing the BJP of not taking the people of Assam into confidence while deciding against including Assam in the land swap deal with Bangladesh, the Chief Minister said that the BJP�s move was tantamount to negating the concept of federalism and that it also exposed the saffron party�s double standards and populist face.
�We were not informed about the decision to keep Assam out of the purview of the land swap deal. This speaks volumes about the federalism that the BJP is talking about. It also lays bare the party�s double standards, whereas our stand on the land swap agreement has been consistent. I still assert that the land swap deal will benefit Assam and its people. The BJP, which favoured the deal before the polls, has done a complete somersault,� he said.
Gogoi also reiterated that the Centre should restore the special category status for the north-eastern states keeping in mind the peculiarities and constraints plaguing the region�s development process.