12 Jul 2009 - 11:43pm | Daya Nath Singh
March month is the closing of fiscal, but the Assam government plans to begin the implementation of developmental schemes during this very month alone. An example of such action has been found in the disastrous flood and erosion problems in Matmara recently. Giving brief picture of the recent flood problems affecting Matmara, Dhakuakhana and Majuli areas of the state to media persons recently, the All Assam Water Resources Contractors’ Association (AAWRCA), alleged that ignoring the suggestions by the organization, the government had gone out of the way to implement the schemes of flood control and erosion, resulting in such calamities. The organization’s president, Muhi Bargohain, along with other office bearers, said that the contractors had suggested in the past, to implement the schemes based on their experience, repeatedly and for this they had to resort to agitations also. In response to their demands the government had given some ‘vague assurances,’ but most of the demands were ignored, resulting in Matmara like serious situation. Repeating their suggestions they said that delayed implementation of schemes could not be useful any way. Delay in starting works and doing dyke repairs etc; just before the rainy season has become a ‘tradition in this state’. The government’s decision in respect of repairing of Matmara dyke was an example of such action. In its reaction to the media reports in respect of Matmara dyke repairing works, the AAWRCA said, although the organization had resolved to begin agitation for fulfillment of their various demands, it had welcomed the decision of government to give work order to a foreign company in the interest of the people of the state. But after the name of a foreign company, the contractors’ organization was surprised to note that there was some ‘conspiracy by vested interests’ in the matter. If there did no such understand no company could have taken responsibility of beginning the serious work like Matmara dye at the end of March month? Although the approval of a scheme is the responsibility of the government, its implementation is done by executive department. For the permanent solution to Matmara dyke work the Central government had sanctioned Rs142 crore schemes, which is the only achievement of the state government. For this the contractors’ organization has hailed the state government. But it had doubt on implementation of the scheme, as in such a short time just before the rainy season it was not likely to be completed even if it was given to local or a foreign company. The delayed approval of scheme under the National Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) too was the cause of concern for the successful implementation. After the state finance and revenue departments’ approval and departmental processing, the rainy season already knocking the door, the organization members said. They further added that in the year 2008-09 under CRF scheme implementation revenue department approval was delayed, for which certain schemes were held up. Anomalies had been observed in respect of release of fund by district officials even after the completion of works in the past. Without having land acquisition the implementation of schemes had created a number of problems. Without going through the details of the schemes some wrong information had also been given to the media. In the year 2008-09, in total 73 schemes were approved, which was valued at Rs 432 crore, out of which the Union government’s share was Rs 180 crore and the state’s Rs.20 crore totaling Rs200 crore. In the meantime, the Central government has released fifty per cent of its share i.e.Rs.90 crore and the balance 90 crore has not been released as yet. The contractors’ association has already completed about 80 percent work and 20 percent is yet to be done. Interestingly, in the Central budget for the current year, there is no provision for last year’s balance amount or Rs.232 crore. The contractors have to suffer due to non-payment of their balance amount even after completion of the work and the chief executive of the water resource department has to be held responsible for this. they said. In addition to all this the govt had to lose Rs.30 crore due to misleading works by the department for which the AAWRCA has demanded a thorough enquiry.