GUWAHATI, June 14 - Expressing concern over reports of shutting down of operations by the North East Coalfields at Margherita, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has accused the State government of failing to take a strong stand to save the industrial sector in Assam.
�We oppose the Centre�s conspiracy to shut down operations of the North East Coalfields. We want its operations to continue. We have only opposed granting of permission to Coal India Ltd to carry out open cast mining at Saleki. We have also opposed illegal mining. Nobody has demanded the closure of legal mining. We have opposed mining at Saleki as it falls under a rainforest area,� Gogoi said.
�We oppose the Centre�s attempts to close down public sector undertakings. We have heard that the Bokajan Cement Factory may also be closed down. That company is in loss because its factory was not expanded. We want its expansion and continuation. The government is talking of industrialisation and employment generation. But, how is it going to happen if one industry is closed down after another? It is very unfortunate that the Government of Assam has not been able to raise its voice on such an important matter,� he said.
The former Chief Minister also demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged lapses and negligence of the outsourced private well operator John Energy on the Baghjan gas leakage and the fire incident.
�Thousands have become destitute. There is a massive loss of flora and fauna. The agricultural land and tea plantations in the area may become unsuitable for cultivation in the future. John Energy did not have the requisite technology to deal with the situation. The biodiversity of the area has been destroyed. We want a CBI inquiry into the matter. We want punishment of those who are responsible for the incident,� the senior leader added.
Gogoi called upon the government to provide immediate relief to the people of Baghjan who have been affected.
He accused the Central government of being lackadaisical in implementing the report of the high-powered committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
�The report was submitted in February. It is a very valuable document. We want to know what is in it. The government has insulted the Assamese people,� he said. He also accused the State government of not doing anything to revive the economy which has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
�The government formed a committee to suggest measures for economic revival. The committee submitted its report. The report is now lying somewhere. We do not know what happened to the report. How much money has the State received from the Centre?� Gogoi asked, adding that there have been reports that non-COVID patients are finding it difficult to receive treatment at hospitals and called upon the government to resolve this problem.