GUWAHATI, Oct 5 - MLAs cutting across party lines today called for steps to bring about all-round development in the three hill districts of Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.
Participating in a discussion on �Socio-economic upliftment of the Hill districts of Assam� in the Legislative Assembly, members said that only a concerted effort to bring about transformation in sectors like health, education, infrastructure and tourism, along with steps to curb corruption and generate employment avenues, will help the hill districts reach a higher level of development.
A total of 17 legislators took part in the discussion.
BJP MLA Ranoj Pegu said that people of the hill districts opted to remain a part of Assam at the time when a separate State was carved out in the form of Meghalaya. He said that geographically and economically the hill districts are very different from the rest of Assam and special attention must be provided for their development and uplift.
Pegu said that merely building roads and other infrastructure is not sufficient and rather a concerted effort will have to be taken to address the issue of social and economic progress as well as that of livelihood. He added that with the hill districts possess great natural beauty and there is potential to develop them as major tourist attractions.
Pegu called for more government funding for the districts.
His party colleague Joyram Engleng said that a sense of alienation has over the decades cropped up among the people of the hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.
Engleng said that State leaders gave many assurances to the residents of the hill districts since Independence but schemes were not implemented on the ground. Despite the memorandum of understanding signed between the State government and the autonomous councils of the hill districts, jurisdiction over four out of the 30 departments - Sales Tax, Excise, Transportation and Printing & Stationary - have not yet been handed over to the councils, he said.
Engleng said that development in Meghalaya has been much faster than in the hill districts of Assam.
�The Autonomous Councils have not been given opportunity for resource mobilization as, for example, with regard to exaction of minerals. The health sector is in poor shape in the hills districts,� he added.
Engleng said that there is a need to look at the feasibility of formation of an Autonomous State, under Article 244(A) of the Constitution, comprising the hill districts.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and Congress MLA Debabrata Saikia said that the three districts face issues concerning connectivity, education and health. He called for �need-based funding� to address the problems.
BJP�s Numal Momin said that the shape of education sector in Karbi Anglong is very bad, with the district recording a low pass percentage during school board exams. He called upon the State government to make provision for teaching of the Karbi language at college and university levels as well as for making the language compulsory in all schools of Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong. He also suggested recruitment of teachers for Rengma, Dimasa, Garo and other languages.