NEW DELHI, July 7 � Cautioning that insurgents in Assam have joined hands with the Maoists, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has underlined the need to take prompt action to contain the situation. He was briefing Prime Minister Narendra Modi today at the Prime Minister�s Parliament House office.
The Chief Minister said the Prime Minister appeared to be sympathetic and assured of helping him. �I am comfortable with everybody,� came Gogoi�s reply when asked about his feelings after meeting Modi. �I did not read his mind, but Modi seems quite favourable,� he added.
Later, addressing a press conference, Gogoi said he conveyed to the Prime Minister that Assam is a problematic State with lack of infrastructural facilities, flood and erosion, ethnic clashes, lack of employment opportunities, militancy etc. Some projects are also pending with the Centre, he said, listing out Assam�s problems.
About insurgency, he explained that lack of economic development was the root cause of the problem. �We have to tackle insurgency, along with which we have to create employment opportunities. We have not been able to attract big investments,� he rued.
Asserting that insurgency by and large has been contained, Gogoi underscored the need to be vigilant. �Not that it has been rooted out, the roots are still there. They have bases in foreign countries,� he said.
�The Maoist problem poses a threat; some of the insurgent groups have joined hands with the Maoists. The problem has to be nipped in the bud. There isn�t much difference between the insurgent groups and the Maoists,� Gogoi said.
Referring to the problem posed by illegal immigration, Gogoi said the NRC is being updated and photo ID cards issued, which would help in detecting foreigners. The Government of India is responsible for updating the NRC.
The Chief Minister said he raised the issue of enhancing the royalty on crude produced in Assam by 20 per cent. �We should get 20 per cent of the value of the crude, but oil companies are giving discounted rates. Why should they cut our cost,� he argued.
Gogoi said he has asked for higher devolution of Central taxes to the states at a ratio of 50/50. Currently, the states get 32 per cent of Central taxes.
Gogoi said he brought to the notice of the Prime Minister the problem of power shortage faced by Assam. He said the State has asked for 750 MW from the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Project, but it is being offered 381 MW.
Replying to questions, the Chief Minister categorically denied that the State Chief Secretary had assured the Union Power Ministry of resuming work on the 2000-MW Subansiri project. �Our job was to provide security cover, which we did,� he said.
�We had also expressed the view that we are in favour of the project, but the safety concerns of the people and the downstream impact have to be looked into and resolved,� he said.