Guwahati, Monday, January 24, 2011
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Govt reluctant to ensure fiscal discipline: Mahanta
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Jan 23 – The Assam Government is reluctant to ensure strict of enforcement the financial rules which has resulted in large scale misappropriation of funds, alleged the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.

Talking to mediapersons here on Saturday, Mahanta said that if the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had nothing to hide, he should have entrusted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate into all financial irregularities in North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council as promised earlier. He pointed out that instead of giving the CBI the responsibility of investigating all the financial irregularities, the Government first handed over only five specific cases to the agency and now only three more specific cases are sought to be handed over.

Referring to the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which also revealed large-scale financial irregularities, Mahanta said that such irregularities occurred because of the lack of sincerity on the part of the Government to enforce strict financial discipline. He said that the CAG had pointed out in its report that Rs 20 lakh earmarked for counter-insurgency operations in NC Hills was misappropriated, while another amount of Rs 1.26 crore went missing from the accounts of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of the Hill district. But unfortunately, the Government did not take any action against anyone for the lapses despite the fact that the irregularities were pointed out by the CAG. This proves that the Government is not interested in maintaining financial discipline, he added.

On the issue of peace talks with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Mahanta said that efforts should be made by the Government and the pro talk leaders of the outfit to involve the commander in chief of the outfit, Paresh Baruah in the process of talks to find a permanent solution of the problems.

Reacting to the Chief Minister's challenge to the leaders of the Opposition parties to declare their assets, Mahanta said, "The AGP was in power from 1985 to 1990 and then again from 1996 to 2001. All our Ministers declared their assets before the 2001 polls and since then we are not in power. The Congress is in power since 2001 and the Ministers should declare their proper assets. We will not ask them to declare assets when the Congress is not in power.”

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