GUWAHATI, Aug 17 - Lambasting the Central and the State governments over their handling of the ongoing floods in the State, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that at a time when lakhs of people have been left destitute and over a hundred have lost their lives, the NDA regime at Dispur and its leaders are more concerned about matters like ministry expansion instead of trying to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
Gogoi said that if given charge he would be able to handle things better than Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
�Over 33 lakh people have been affected by the floods and over a hundred have died. The State has been left devastated. But Sarbananda Sonowal and all his ministers and MLAs are only focusing on ministry expansion at a time when common people are not even getting food, water and shelter,� Gogoi said at a press conference here.
He said though floods have hit the State regularly over the years, this time the devastation has been much more.
�The Centre is responsible for the present condition. Inactivity of the State government is also responsible. Embankments were not repaired in time. Flood-related funds of about Rs 1,200 crore that were due to my regime have yet to be released by the Centre and this has led to contractors refusing to execute projects as money has not been released,� Gogoi said.
He added, �The Central government has taken charge for rejuvenation of the Ganga, formed an authority for that purpose, allotted as much as Rs 20,000 crore. So why not do something similar for the Brahmaputra. After all Assam�s flood and erosion problems are much more serious. Yet the Brahmaputra is not getting as much attention as the Ganga from the Centre. The State government has also failed to put pressure on the Centre.�
He accused the State government of trying to divert issues. �They are talking of dredging. But where is the feasibility report for dredging? How can they talk of dredging without proper study and feasibility report? This government is one of slogans, not work. Himanta Biswa Sarma is saying that there is no shortage of funds. So why has the condition of roads, water supply, and other things worsened?� argued the former three-time Chief Minister.
Asked if he could have done a better job than Sonowal in the current situation, Gogoi said, �Of course. Let me run it. I can run the administration much better. After all, I was elected three times. Sonowal can also run the government much more efficiently if he desires so.�
Gogoi also criticised Sonowal�s Independence Day speech, in which the Chief Minister mentioned RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya and Jan Sangh leader Syama Prasad Mookerjee and added that a systematic effort is being made to �rewrite� history.
�What relation do Deendayal Upadhyaya and Syama Prasad Mookerjee have with Assam? Even the Prime Minister has never taken their names. I doubt if even State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass had heard the name of Deendayal Upadhyaya earlier,� said Gogoi.