Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Assam anarchy

Three pieces:
1) As expected and as reported here a few days back, we have a union of anti-Tarun Gogoi forces in Assam. There is nothing sacred about this alliance, it will fall down sooner than later due to its own contradictions. When Sirauddin Ajmal can speak in the same dais as Ronjit Dutta, something is really crooked in the current tidings in Assam.

The Opposition parties of Assam staged a rare and massive show of unity here today to run down the Tarun Gogoi government over the alleged Rs 1,000 crore scam in Dima Hasao (formerly NC Hills) district as well as spiralling prices. Flush with the success of the road show, Opposition leaders said it was only the beginning and henceforth they would unitedly campaign on all issues affecting the people.
Besides the AGP leadership, BJP state unit president Ranjit Dutta, CPI leader Pramode Gogoi, BPPF leader Rabiram Narzary, AIUDF leader Sirauddin Ajmal and Bhuban Pegu of Gana Shakti also attended the rally. Dutta said, “The government is involved in all kinds of corruption and wrongdoings. It is time the chief minister tenders his resignation.”

2) Linky

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today warned the Tarun Gogoi government of dire consequences if it tried to disrupt tomorrow’s public rally of the samiti against construction of mega dams in the region. KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi told the reporters this evening that though the Kamrup metro district administration earlier gave the permission to the samiti to hold the rally at Sonaram field, the Assam government’s spokesperson Himanta Biswa Sarma today asked the administration to cancel the permission.
Patkar, while extending full support to the KMSS, said at the news conference that the government must immediately stop construction of Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project in view of the final findings of the adverse impact by an expert committee. The power project is being executed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation at Gerukamukh village in Dhemaji along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border to generate 2,000MW electricity.

3) Linky

It cannot get any worse than this. Diphu Polytechnic, set up 17 years ago, is yet to become operational, with not a single class held in the institution till date. The sorry state of affairs began right from 1993, the year in which the polytechnic was established during the then chief minister Histeswar Saikia’s tenure. Crores were spent to set up the institution’s campus in the heart of Diphu town in Karbi Anglong district. With the institute lying in an abandoned state, the Assam government even allotted the building as a designated camp to house surrendered cadres of the United Peoples Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) in 2001, after entering into a political dialogue with the outfit that year.

However, five years later, the then education minister Ripun Bora announced that two different courses in civil engineering would be started in the polytechnic and 54 people would be recruited as teaching and non-teaching staff. The minister’s announcement instilled a semblance of hope among the people of the hill district. Two departments — civil engineering-rural technology and eco-system engineering — were planned to be made operational in the polytechnic from the next academic session in 2007 with enrolment of 60 students — 30 against each departments.

Subsequently, work began on a warfooting to spruce up the institute. The entire infrastructure was given a polished look by the PWD and thereafter, five new teachers, including a principal, were appointed. The Assam Public Service Commission even advertised for the posts of 54 teachers. These developments were followed by formal inauguration of the institution. In the academic session (2007), the technical education department enrolled 60 students in the polytechnic, with the admissions taking place centrally in Guwahati.

However, things apparently were back to square one when the students found none to teach them at the institute. “Actually, the five persons posted to the institution had not joined and that led to the chaos. Later, the students had to be shifted to other institutions,” a technical education department source, said. “The government again used the polytechnic as a designated camp for the Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front cadres. We think there is no hope of opening the institution in the future,” said Bili Teron, a social worker based in Diphu.

“We have nothing to do on that subject as technical education is not under the control of our autonomous council,” said Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council senior executive member (in-charge, education department) Ratan Engti. “There is hope for the polytechnic in Diphu, as this is the first of its kind in the hill district. But the main problem is the hesitation of teachers to work in the hills. For the sake of the job, the teachers say they are ready to work anywhere. Once they get the job, most of them make a beeline for transfers. The government’s failure to start classes in Diphu Polytechnic is mainly because of the refusal of teachers to work in the troubled hill district,” an education department source said.



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