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Left State in stable financial condition: Gogoi


GUWAHATI, June 21 - Accusing the newly-elected BJP Government at Dispur of trying to take credit for schemes already announced by the previous Congress regime, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that he will soon release a White Paper giving details about the financial and economic condition of the State in 2001, when his Government had first come to power, and in the comparative situation when it relinquished office last month.

�The BJP has alleged that my Government was responsible for increasing the State�s financial liabilities and for taking the State to a poor economic condition. But Assam�s financial condition is good, or else would the Sarbananda Sonowal Government have announced regularisation of over 7,000 TET teachers� posts,� Gogoi asked in a press conference here on Monday.

He added, �I will release a White Paper within one month. The document will clearly reveal details about what we inherited from our predecessors in 2001, and in what condition we have left the State�s finances for our successor now. We have left office with the State in a very comfortable economic and financial condition.�

He said that Assam�s liabilities stand at around Rs 35,000 crore as compared to over Rs 2,00,000 crore of Gujarat, Rs 62,000 crore of Odisha, Rs 1,43,000 crore of Rajasthan, Rs 1,85,000 crore of Tamil Nadu and over Rs 2,00,000 crore of West Bengal. Gogoi added that the Central Government also has a liability of Rs 27,00,000 crore.

He added that the Assam Government has a good amount deposited with the RBI, but the State Government has not revealed the exact figure. Gogoi said that the BJP is seeking to take credit for regularisation of TET teachers and use of the lottery system for teachers� posting.

�An impression is sought to be given that the BJP Government has done in one month what we could not do in 15 years. The reality is that the process for regularising the TET teachers was started by my Government. However, we could not complete the process due to pending court case, followed by implementation of the Model Code of Conduct before the polls. The groundwork was laid by us,� he said. He added that the Congress Government had last year started the process of computerised lottery for posting of ACS officers.

Gogoi said that the recent memorandum by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to the Prime Minister and Union Finance Minister seeking a special one-time grant and also release of funds allotted earlier has endorsed the points raised earlier by the previous Congress Government.

�The Chief Minister�s memo to the Prime Minister has shown that our stand was correct. We have been deprived of our due, including oil royalty and funds for flood management. His (Sonowal�s) memo has endorsed my views. When we used to say these things during our Government�s time, we were accused of adopting a line of confrontation. Himanta Biswa Sarma says that Central assistance to the State has gone up under the Modi Government as compared to the Manmohan Singh Government. If that is so, why is the new Government in the State not spending the money,� said the former Chief Minister.

He added, �Sonowal is Modi�s blue-eyed boy. So the State Government should extract maximum advantage now. If you cannot secure benefits for Assam now, when will you do it?� Gogoi criticised the Sonowal Government for not including issues of price rise, NRC update, flood and erosion in its 100-day action plan.

�Now everybody is mum on the NRC. The Supreme Court is also mute. Why not complete NRC work now at the earliest? They secured votes on the name of encroachment of satras. What is stopping them from evicting these encroachments? Now they are saying that there are no illegal immigrants in Kaziranga National Park. Tomorrow, may be they will even say that there are no foreigners in Assam,� he speculated.

The Congress leader added that over 99 per cent fencing work along the land border between India and Bangladesh has already been completed.

�And now, the BJP Government is stating that it will complete the fencing work within the next five years. They are only interested in taking credit,� said Gogoi.

Regarding recent incidences of rhino poaching, he said, �Earlier, they used to blame us. Now what will they say as rhino killings have continued.�

Regarding allegations that his Government had patronised both poachers as well as officials involved in nepotism, Gogoi said that if the present administration has any proof, it should act against those who are responsible. Gogoi said he will start contributing to newspapers to tell �the truth� to the people of Assam.

Regarding selection of a successor to Anjan Dutta for the post of APCC chief, Gogoi said the process has not yet started.

Gogoi accused the Narendra Modi Government of �merely resorting to slogans� and adopting a divisive agenda instead of serving the people.

He accused the Central Government of attempting to �saffronise� the education sector and said this will lead to destruction of the social fabric of society. Gogoi also blamed the Centre regarding the issue of RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.

�A man of his calibre and worldwide reputation should have been given an extension and not subjected to controversy. The impression was given that he is not wanted. It proves that the NDA Government is not interested in the welfare of the people,� said Gogoi.

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