Delegation meets PM,
NEW DELHI, Dec 11 – Close on the heels of the Centre’s decision to create Telangana, the first delegation from Assam met Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh demanding creation of autonomous State of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills. An eight-member delegation from Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council including MLAs and MP called on the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to formally announce revival of their demand.
The delegation included Biren Singh Engti MP, CEM Joy Ram Engleng, EM Sum Ronghan, Biraj Singh Engleng, Dr Mon Singh Rongpi, Mangal Singh Engti and Ratan Engti, among others.
Later talking to this newspaper, the Congress MP said that they have conveyed to both the top UPA leaders that though they were not demanding a separate State they have decided to revive the old demand for creation of a State within a State.
The demand concerns two of the most backward districts of Assam. “We want more power under autonomous State according to Article 244 A,” Engti said.
The Congress delegation played its safe though, blaming the Centre for the current mess. It is not the job of Government of Assam to give us more but it is Ministry of Home Affairs, which is shying away from implementation of the Constitutional provision,” complained thedelegation.
The Prime Minister’s response was guarded. He advised the delegation to first discuss their problems with Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi. However, when pressed further, he reportedly assured that the Centre would look into their problems.
Engti, considered close to Gogoi said that the administration in both the districts needed to be up graded from district council to autonomous State. The then Prime Minister, Late Indira Gandhi has inserted the provision in the Constitution. “Why are we discriminated against? Are we second class citizens?” He charged.
He said they conveyed to the Prime Minister that one of the reasons behind the backwardness of the two hill districts was delay in release of funds. The Planning Commission does not release the funds in time and our officers have to sit for months at Guwahati to get the funds released. But by the time it is released the working season is over and the budgetary allocation most often lapses, he said.
The delegation, said Engti also mentioned to the Prime Minister that the two districts have no engineering, medical, technical institution.