Gogoi to table State Budget today

GUWAHATI, Jul 1 : The Budget Session of the Assam Legislative Assembly will begin tomorrow with the presentation of the State’s Budget for the year 2009-10 by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who is also in charge of the Finance department. Meanwhile, the Opposition parties are gearing up to put the Government on the back foot during the session. The session, which will continue up to July 21, will have 13 working days. Normally the State’s Budget is presented in the month of March, but this year because of the Lok Sabha polls, only vote-on-account for four months was presented in March and the full Budget will be presented tomorrow.

The Speaker of the State Assembly, Tanka Bahadur Rai, today held a meeting of the leaders of the legislature parties and groups to seek their cooperation for smooth conduct of the session.

The major Opposition parties have joined hands to raise the common issues concerning the people of the State together on the floor of the House. They are also likely to move an adjournment motion in the House on the incidents of violence in the North Cachar Hills district.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, the leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, Chandra Mohan Patowary said that the major Opposition parties would maintain floor coordination to raise the major issues concerning the common people forcefully in the House. He said that he already held talks with the leaders of other parties including BJP and AUDF in this regard.

Patowary said that law-and-order situation in the State, particularly in NC Hills and Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) areas would be one of the main issues for the Opposition. He alleged that since assuming office in 2001, the Congress-led Government in the State had totally failed to protect the life and property of the people and the situation in NC Hills deteriorated day by day because of the failure of the government to act on time. He alleged that the government delayed the arrest of former Chief Executive Member of the NC Hills Autonomous Council, Mohit Hojai, only because of the elections. He also said that the Government was not keen on solving the problem of militancy through political talks and no progress has been made in the process of talks with the militant groups, which signed cease-fire agreements to express their desire to solve the problems peacefully.

The Opposition leader said that the power situation would be another major issue as the government has totally failed to improve the situation and is now claiming that the situation would improve only after sufficient rainfall. Over the years, the government had failed to take steps to increase thermal power generation and no step was taken to set up the proposed Amguri power project, he alleged. He further said that the Government cannot expect to bring in investments to the State without improving the power scenario.

On the drought like situation, Patowary said that the rural economy would be badly affected this year because of the weather condition. He said that the failure of the government to provide irrigation facilities to the farmers would seriously hit agriculture production. He alleged that less than five percent of the cultivable land in the State is provided with irrigation facilities.

Patowary also alleged that though the Government of India has been claiming that the rate of inflation is coming down, the prices of all the essential commodities are increasing, making life miserable for the common people. He said that the Public Distribution System is also not functioning properly in the State.

The Opposition parties are also planning to accuse the government of misusing funds earmarked for rural development.