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State Govt to seek Centre�s assistance

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 5 - The Assam Government will approach the Centre seeking assistance to tide over the acute financial crisis, said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Sonowal said that he would visit New Delhi within this month for detailed talks with the Centre on the requirements of the State to tide over the immediate crisis. He said that the details of the help to be sought from the Centre are being worked out.

The Chief Minister said that Rs 10,000 crore is only the committed liabilities of the State Government and the loans of the government are not included in the amount. He said that it would be a tough task for the government to tide over the crisis inherited from the previous government. But at the same time, he expressed confidence that the government would be able to overcome it.

Sonowal revealed that efforts are on to explore possibilities for resource mobilization and plug the loopholes in the process of tax collection. He said that the government would study the models used by the advanced states of the country for resource mobilization and possibilities of exploring the same methods in the State would be looked into. At the same time, he assured that the interests of the people of Assam would be kept in mind while taking any step for resource mobilization. He also assured that the government would adopt a policy of keeping the people informed about all the steps to be taken for improving the financial health of the State.

The Chief Minister admitted that the expectations from the people of the State are very high and the financial health of the government must be improved to fulfil the expectations of all sections of people. He said that innovative ideas would have to be used to accelerate the pace of development despite the financial hardships.

Sonowal pointed out that development is the key and the roads and bridges should be improved. The problems of flood and erosion should be dealt with in the best possible way, while the condition of the hospitals and schools should be improved. But at this moment, there is hardly any fund for development activities and the government must improve resource mobilization immediately, he added.

The Chief Minister alleged that the previous government had acted in �irresponsible manner� and kept on announcing new schemes without making any provision in the budget. That action of the Congress Government increased the committed liabilities of the government and �we have inherited the liability and start making fresh efforts to tide over the crisis,� he added.

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