GUWAHATI, March 9 � The Government of India took the decision to form an expert committee to study the viability of the demand for creation of a separate State of Bodoland way back in November last year, but the announcement was put on hold mainly because of political reasons.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that when the demand for creation of a separate State of Bodoland started gaining momentum, the Government took a decision to form an expert committee to examine its viability. Former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai was also sounded about it in November itself. The chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), Hagrama Mahilary was also informed about the decision during that time only.
But the announcement of formation of the committee was put on hold as the Government was apprehensive that the organisations demanding a separate State might start fresh demands of early submission of the report for taking a decision before the elections. �The ruling party must also have thought that the announcement of formation of the committee before the elections might give them political mileage,� sources added.
Sources, however, pointed out that at the time when the committee headed by Pillai was formed just before the announcement of the election dates, there was no time for the committee to start functioning before the poll process started. Moreover, there is no guarantee that in case of a change of Government, the same policy would be adopted by the next Government. Whenever an enquiry committee is formed under the provision of the Commission of Enquiry Act, the validity of the same remains even in case of a change of Government, but in this case, the expert committee was formed by an executive order and it can be scrapped by the next Government, sources added.
Sources said that though the expert committee was given nine months� time to submit its report, it would be able to start functioning only after a new Government assumes office at the Centre, and that too if the new leaders in Delhi endorse the policy of the present Government on the issue. Sources admitted that knowing all these facts, there was no reason for the Government to announce formation of such a committee just a few days before the announcement of the dates of the polls.
It may be mentioned here that though the Bodoland People�s Front (BPF) welcomed the formation of the committee, several other Bodo and non-Bodo groups opposed it and the All Bodo Students� Union (ABSU) even went to the extent of declaring it as an election gimmick by the Congress aimed at giving an election issue to its alliance partner BPF.