GUWAHATI, July 22 - Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today lambasted the Central and State governments over their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood situation in the State.
�Assam has been passing through worst crisis period due to government�s wrong, unplanned and whimsical handling with regard to the problems arising out of COVID-19, flood and erosion,� Gogoi said.
�Assam is now going through an immense crisis due to the government�s failure to take adequate measures like repairing embankments and execution of anti-erosion schemes at the proper time. The situation is only worsening on the COVID front with the number of affected people crossing the 25,000-mark, and over 60 deaths,� said Gogoi.
�With regard to flood and erosion, more than 50 lakh people have been affected in the State so far. Despite this, neither the Government of India nor the Government of Assam seems to have realised the seriousness of the problem. Our State is passing through a worse period and if Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not consider it worthwhile to visit Assam at this time of distress it will prove that he doing nothing but only shedding crocodile tears,� he added.
Gogoi said the Prime Minister�s belonging to the Congress party in the past has always stood with the people of Assam during times of floods and other natural calamities. He cited the example of former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh and said that they always used to travel to Assam for on-the-spot assessment during floods.
�What is even most disturbing is that even as the Union Water Resources Ministry allocated funds to the tune of Rs 6,323.69 crore to the Assam government between 2015-16 and 2018-19, the State government could spend only Rs 750.52 crore, which is only about 11.8 per cent of the total allocation... Moreover, there have been allegations of large scale corruption as a result of which the people of Assam today are going through immense hardships,� said Gogoi. �Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal�s supervision and his orders for completion of repairing of embankments and other schemes have had no effect which exposes lack of commanding authority of the Chief Minister,� he said.
According to the former Chief Minister, the COVID-19 situation in Assam has become so alarming that the Union Health Ministry had to caution the State government to take effective measures like testing, tracing, and expansion of treatment facilities to contain the pandemic.
He alleged that along with COVID-19, other diseases like Japanese Encephalitis are also causing devastation across the State. Gogoi cited recent data to state that Assam continues to have the highest Maternal Mortality Rate among all States.
�On the economic front also the situation in Assam is extremely bad. The vast majority of the State�s population is staring at destitution due to the unplanned lockdowns. The State government is acting on its own without consulting experts or the community at large,� said Gogoi.
He accused Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of exuding �false confidence�.
�At the same time it is unfortunate that Chief Minister Sonowal is not having the capacity to lead the government effectively and he is depending too much on a single individual while ignoring the whole Council of Ministers,� Gogoi said.