GUWAHATI, July 10 – Regretting that the State Assembly rarely discussed matters of vital public importance, public activist Prof Deven Dutta said that the MLAs irrespective of party affiliation had been using the sacred Assembly sessions for indulging in cheap rhetoric on non-issues and personal jibes.
“Barring a few exceptions, most of the members are not fit to be members...they neither have any understanding of the people’s problems nor do they care for the plight of the masses reeling under a plethora of ills,” Prof Dutta said at a press conference.
Equating the conduct of the public representatives with ‘betrayal of the people’s trust reposed in them,’ Prof Dutta questioned their right to stage walkouts at the drop of a hat, reducing the august House’s proceedings to a farce.
“This is nothing but squandering of public money and precious time, as year after year the members have been simply staging walkouts and deliberating on non-issues instead of having any meaningful participation,” Prof Dutta said.
Pointing out that the hold of the State’s indigenous populace over land was weakening due to burning problems such as Bangladeshi infiltration, aggression from neighbouring States like Nagaland and Arunachal, and unabated erosion by the Brahmaputra, Prof Dutta said that both the Opposition and ruling members exhibited the same callousness in having any significant discussion on these issues. “None of the parties dare to speak against infiltration, as all look up to the Bangladeshi vote bank during election,” he added.
Dwelling on a host of issues suffering appalling neglect from the Government as well as the Opposition, Prof Dutta said that the abysmally slow work of the four-lane highway, failure to accord protection to monuments including garhs, maidams, ponds and the stone bridge of Namdang, wanton destruction of forest and wildlife, encroachment on Sattra land, a crumbling public distribution system (PDS), smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh, free or highly subsidized power tariff to select groups of people, a pathetic work culture in Government offices, the proposed ‘uncalled for’ hike in salaries and allowances of MLAs, failure to implement the Official Language Act even after 50 years, etc., had been some of the persisting concerns that expose the utter lack of will on the part of not just the ruling members but all the public representatives irrespective of party attachment.
Prof Dutta said that the snail’s pace progress of the four-lane highway was making life miserable for the commuters, and urged the Government to develop the four alternative roads linking Guwahati with Nagaon.
Pointing out that unabated destruction of forest and wildlife under the very nose of the authorities would make the State part with its natural heritage. Prof Dutta said that rhinos apart, the thriving racket on illegal trade of lesser animals and birds was completely overlooked by the authorities. “Yet another disquieting concern is the extinction of a number of indigenous species of fish due to unrestricted fishing,” he added.
Referring to the Cabinet decision of March 2008 regarding imposition of normal power tariff for the residents of the at the capital complex, Prof Dutta said that it was a shame that a collective decision by members of all political parties was not implemented due to their own laxity.