GUWAHATI, May 26 � Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, and other party leaders today highlighted the achievements of the Congress-led government that completed its first year of its third term in power.
Gandhi, also the UPA Chairperson, claimed that when the Gogoi Government first came to power, Assam was in poor shape on several fronts. The coffers were empty, there were no funds to pay government employees, and there was hardly any development in the rural sector.
Further, there was a collapse in law and order and people of Assam lived in a state of fear. Commerce and industry had made an exodus from the state. �Today I am happy to see the changed face of Assam,� she said.
She expressed particular happiness with the progress made in the agriculture sector that saw the production of record foodgrains and rice, mentioning, �You have made history in the entire country!�
The commitment towards Assam�s development is strong, and that has manifested in new investments in different areas. New bridges over the Brahmaputra will offer better connectivity, and eight autonomous councils and 18 development councils will speed up progress, she said.
Speaking at the Sarusajai stadium venue, Chief Minister Gogoi thanked Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the Congress president for their support to development initiatives in Assam, and for giving priority to the state�s economic development.
In his address he also compared present economic and social indicators with those during the time of the AGP government, underlining investment in key areas such as rural development that has increased to more than 10,000 crore rupees.
He mentioned the recent appointment of 26,000 teachers, expansion of SHGs, launch of development councils, decentralisation of power as major steps taken by his government.
Gogoi was strident in his support of the controversial Subansiri Dam, which he claimed would contribute to energy needs of students from poor background and rural areas. �We want the dam, but at the same time would not allow it to cause harm,� he noted.
CM�s call to Paresh Barua: On a day marked by an ULFA bandh that evoked a near total response, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi again urged anti-talk ULFA supremo Paresh Barua to come to the negotiating table.
Paresh Barua should come for peace talks, and the Government is ready to engage in discussions to usher in permanent peace. But, in case hardliners do not abjure violence, action would have to be taken. �We will not allow the killing of innocents,� Gogoi remarked.
The Chief Minister said that his government was not keen to respond to violence with aggressive measures. Instead it is through the means of developmental work that extremism will be eradicated from Assam. This will also be the strategy to thwart Maoist designs in different parts of the state.
UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi who congratulated Gogoi for his role in bringing peace, prosperity and harmony to Assam, hoped that extremist elements will shun violence and respond to the government�s overtures to initiate fruitful discussions leading to lasting peace.