GUWAHATI, June 8 � Congress legislator Abdul Muhib Mazumdar today stressed the need for a 'new orientation' in the matter of implementing the Assam Accord, saying that it was necessitated by the Supreme Court's repealing of the IM (DT) Act.
"The Assam Accord was designed on the IM(DT) Act, and the Government needs to see it in a new perspective as the Act is no longer there," Mazumdar, the architect of the controversial piece of legislation, said. He was moving the motion thanking the Governor for his address.
Terming the representation of the minority Muslim community in different spheres in the State as inadequate, Mazumdar said that the community's backwardness stemmed largely from lack of access to education and employment avenues. "The incidence of population growth and crime is also high among the community and unless addressed at the earliest, the situation could result in a social chaos," he said, adding that the disquieting developments were also resulting in different allegations against the community.
Mazumdar, however, expressed confidence that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi would succeed in unifying the different communities of the State and build a progressive Assam. He said that the Ahoms - beginning with the dynasty's founder Sui-ka-pha -- had succeeded in doing that several centuries back, and that being a descendant from that dynasty Gogoi should be able to unify all the communities living in the State.
Citing erosion by the Brahmaputra and the burgeoning unemployment as two of the biggest problems, Mazumdar said that over 20,000 bighas of land had been eroded by the river, displacing over ten lakh people in the process. "Many of the landless are without land patta and keep on migrating across the State, and are often branded as Bangladeshis," he added.
Sirajuddin Ajmal (AIUDF), while expressing disappointment over the Governor's address as it 'ignored the reality', said that a burning issue like all-pervasive corruption involving the high and the mighty was left unaddressed.
"Similar is the case with issues like abnormal price rise, farmers' problems, unemployment, border security, flood and erosion, etc. Moreover, the assertions are vague and unconvincing as there is no time-frame for addressing any of the issues," Ajmal said.
Welcoming the announcement of a Rs 1,000-crore package for Barak Valley, Ajmal regretted that there was no such initiative for the char (temporary sand bars)-area dwellers and the tea-tribes who were the most backward communities in the State.
Ajmal also underscored the need for time-bound implementation of the Assam Accord and updating of the NRC besides resolving the matter of 'D' voters and they were being accorded an 'inhuman treatment.'
Anjan Dutta (Congress) welcomed the Government's decision to provincialize the venture schools set up prior to 2006, and said that there should be a strict legislation to curb the mushrooming growth of venture schools. "There is an urgent need to assess the situation vis-�-vis venture schools, as there have been many instances of venture schools coming up overnight which have managed to avail the benefits by showing forged documents," he said.
Reasoning that the Governor's speech failed to reflect the reality, Padma Hazarika (AGP) said that time-bound resolution of the pressing issues was a must to put the State on the path of progress and peace. "Sealing of the Indo-Bangla border, NRC update, implementation of the Assam Accord, etc., are matters that brook no delay. We will extend full cooperation to the Government in resolving these matters," he said.
Expressing concern that there had been greater division among the militant outfits interested in peace dialogue, Hazarika said that the real test of the Government lay in bringing all the disgruntled elements to the negotiating table. "The presence of Paresh Baruah will be critical to the success of the peace process with ULFA," he added.
Regretting that a conducive atmosphere for industrial development was still a far cry, Hazarika said that kidnapping and extortion of industrialists and investors was still on. "Then, there is an urgent need to check corruption and bring in a healthy work culture in government departments. Similarly, the potential of agriculture must be tapped besides generating self-employment avenues among the youths," he said.
Hazarika also demanded a hike in the MLA's Local Area Development fund to make it over Rs 1 crore.
Ataur Rahman Majhar Bhuyan (AIUDF) bemoaned the failure of the Government in providing free textbooks to students even after the lapse of almost six months of the academic session. He said that matters were made worse by the absence of accountability in the exercise. He also rued the 'inaction' of the Government in giving the dues to the two most backward communities - the Muslims and the tea-tribe.
Bhupen Bora (Congress), while emphasizing on resolving Assam's inter-State boundary disputes, blamed the Government for not being up to the task of expediting the process in its representations before the national boundary commissions.
Bora said that due to the State Government's laxity, the Arunachal authorities were encroaching on Assam's land and setting up offices, schools, hospitals, etc within Assam's territory.
Bora also demanded a special package for the two most backward and perennially flood-affected districts of Dhemaji and Lakhimpur.
Kamali Basumatary (BPF) wanted the Government to facilitate peace talks with the NDFB in the lines of its efforts in the ULFA peace process.
Rana Goswami (Congress), Kamal Singh Narzary (BPF), Rokybul Hussain, Bidya Singh Engleng, Pallav Lochan Das, Bismita Gogoi, Sushmita Deb and Rekibuddin Ahmed (all Congress), Sherman Ali Ahmed and Hafiz Basir Ahmed Qasimi (AIUDF), Ranjit Das (BJP), Bhupen Roy (AGP), Dwipen Pathak (TMC) and Jatin Mali (Independent) also took part in the deliberations.