GUWAHATI, Aug 2 - Accusing the Centre and the State government of trying to hoodwink the people of Assam by means of the Rs 2,000-crore flood package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the North East yesterday, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today called upon the Union government to grant a Rs 50,000-crore package for Assam for a permanent solution to the flood and erosion problem.
Addressing a press conference here, Gogoi also demanded that a white paper be released giving details about amounts released by the previous UPA regime and the current NDA regime for flood-related projects in Assam.
�The Prime Minister came. But the people of the State did not get what they were expecting. Even the State government has not been able to give details about the package and Assam�s share from it,� he said.
The Congress strongman said that while the Centre has sanctioned Rs 20,000 crore for rejuvenation of the Ganga, � and Rs 7,000 crore of that has already been spent � the entire North East has been given only Rs 2,000 crore.
�The North East should get more importance than the Ganga. If Rs 20,000 crore can be given for the Ganga, we demand that Rs 50,000 crore be given to us. Why did Prime Minister Modi, during his Guwahati visit yesterday, not assure us that the Centre would take responsibility for the flood and erosion problem of Assam?� Gogoi said.
He said that Modi came to Guwahati only due to protests from all sections of society against the Centre�s apathy towards the Assam floods.
Gogoi came out strongly against big dams and said such structures would �finish Assam�. �We have to wake up and come out strongly against big dams or else our jati and mati will be finished,� said the former Chief Minister.
He said that many ministers of the Sarbananda Sonowal ministry are speaking in contradictory voices with regard to the package announced by Modi yesterday and it is not even clear if the Rs 250 crore announced for immediate flood relief in Assam is part of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) sanctioned earlier or an additional component.
�People of Assam want a clearer picture. Besides, how many hours did the Prime Minister spend here to understand the problem of the people of five states of the North East affected by floods? He should have gone and met the affected people and listened to their �Mann Ki Baat�. How much time does it take to visit Lakhimpur or Morigaon from Guwahati by chopper? He came in a hurry and he just left in a hurry. Modi even did not bring along the Union Water Resources Secretary who is the person responsible for implementing the schemes,� said Gogoi.
Gogoi demanded that a white paper be released. �Let all know how much work happened in our time and how much has been done by the NDA government. Also, please give details of the amounts sanctioned to different states for disaster relief, including Assam by the Centre. The NDA regime is treating Assam in a step-motherly fashion,� he said.
Gogoi also said that Modi has so far not uttered even a single word about the erosion problem of Assam.
He said that Dispur and the State government are being run by bureaucrats, and all the ministers, including the Chief Minister, are clueless about issues and problems. �There is no use blaming only Modi as even our own ministers are silent,� he said.