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Govt silence irks panel member

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, July 30 - Senior advocate Nilay Dutta is disappointed over the silence of the Central and State Governments on the recommendations of the committee formed by the Union Home Ministry for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Dutta, who was a member of the committee, which was headed by Justice (Retd) Biplab Sarma, said that the people have the right to know the details of the recommendations made by the committee. He is of the view that the Government should have made the report public if it felt that there is scope for further public debate on the recommendations.

Dutta said that the total silence of the Central and State Governments even after five months of submission of the report is unfortunate in a democratic country. He pointed out that though Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal received the report on behalf of the Union Home Minister five months back, the Centre is yet to even acknowledge the receipt of it.

Dutta, who is also the advocate general of Arunachal Pradesh, said that the intentions of the Government became doubtful towards the end of the tenure of the committee as the Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, who was the member secretary of the committee, disassociated himself from the final report.

He also said that the Government has in fact started acting contrary to specific recommendations of the committee. The committee had strongly opposed transfer of farm land for non-agricultural purposes, but Assam Government had proposed to do just the opposite by intending to bring an ordinance allowing such transfer. After a hue and cry was raised in the State, the Government ultimately issued a statement saying that the� decision was withdrawn.

Dutta further said that silence on the part of the Government is in fact a very well thought out strategy to indefinitely delay a decision and allow Clause 6 to fade from public memory. He asserted that it was therefore incumbent on the part of the members of the committee to make the report public and bring the recommendations into public domain. �I am of the view that without indefinitely waiting for the Government to make the report public, we should do it on our own. The people have the right to know what we recommended,� he added.

When asked to comment on the statements made by several political leaders that some recommendations would not be legally tenable, Dutta expressed his surprise as to how such comments on the recommendations could have been made when the report has not yet been made public. �Shall I understand that the Government has leaked the report to political leaders of their choice and kept the general public ignorant of it?� he questioned. Dutta asserted that is therefore all the more necessary to make the report public so that any debate on the recommendations can be fruitfully made in the public domain and not by kite flying by vested interests inimical to interests of the people of Assam.

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Govt silence irks panel member

GUWAHATI, July 30 - Senior advocate Nilay Dutta is disappointed over the silence of the Central and State Governments on the recommendations of the committee formed by the Union Home Ministry for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Dutta, who was a member of the committee, which was headed by Justice (Retd) Biplab Sarma, said that the people have the right to know the details of the recommendations made by the committee. He is of the view that the Government should have made the report public if it felt that there is scope for further public debate on the recommendations.

Dutta said that the total silence of the Central and State Governments even after five months of submission of the report is unfortunate in a democratic country. He pointed out that though Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal received the report on behalf of the Union Home Minister five months back, the Centre is yet to even acknowledge the receipt of it.

Dutta, who is also the advocate general of Arunachal Pradesh, said that the intentions of the Government became doubtful towards the end of the tenure of the committee as the Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, who was the member secretary of the committee, disassociated himself from the final report.

He also said that the Government has in fact started acting contrary to specific recommendations of the committee. The committee had strongly opposed transfer of farm land for non-agricultural purposes, but Assam Government had proposed to do just the opposite by intending to bring an ordinance allowing such transfer. After a hue and cry was raised in the State, the Government ultimately issued a statement saying that the� decision was withdrawn.

Dutta further said that silence on the part of the Government is in fact a very well thought out strategy to indefinitely delay a decision and allow Clause 6 to fade from public memory. He asserted that it was therefore incumbent on the part of the members of the committee to make the report public and bring the recommendations into public domain. �I am of the view that without indefinitely waiting for the Government to make the report public, we should do it on our own. The people have the right to know what we recommended,� he added.

When asked to comment on the statements made by several political leaders that some recommendations would not be legally tenable, Dutta expressed his surprise as to how such comments on the recommendations could have been made when the report has not yet been made public. �Shall I understand that the Government has leaked the report to political leaders of their choice and kept the general public ignorant of it?� he questioned. Dutta asserted that is therefore all the more necessary to make the report public so that any debate on the recommendations can be fruitfully made in the public domain and not by kite flying by vested interests inimical to interests of the people of Assam.

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