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Panel formed to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord
KALYAN BAROOAH
 NEW DELHI, July 16 - Six months after its aborted first attempt, the Centre on Tuesday constituted a 13-member high level committee comprising eminent personalities of Assam to examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and to assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the indigenous people.

The new committee will be headed by Justice (retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma, former judge of Gauhati High Court. The members are Ramesh Borpatragohain, Advocate General, Assam; Niloy Dutta, Advocate General, Arunachal Pradesh; Subhash Das, IAS (retd); Pallav Bhattacharya, IPS (retd); Dr Srishtidhar Dutta, retired professor; Sumanta Chaliha, author and columnist; Dr Jaikanta Sharma, professor and columnist; Wasbir Hussain, senior journalist; Samujjal Bhattacharya, chief adviser, All Assam Students Union (AASU); Dipanka Kumar Nath, president, AASU; and Lurinjyoti Gogoi, general secretary, AASU. The Joint Secretary, North East, Ministry of Home Affairs will act as member secretary of the committee.

Besides examining the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, the committee will hold discussions with various stakeholders, including social organisations, legal and constitutional experts, eminent persons from the fields of art, culture and literature, conservationists, economists, linguists and sociologists to assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people. The committee will also suggest measures to be taken to protect the Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam.

The committee will also recommend the appropriate level of reservation in employment under the Government of Assam for the Assamese people. It may also suggest any other measures as may be necessary to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. The committee will submit its report within six months from the date of notification.

The committee will be serviced by the North East Division of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The Government of Assam will provide necessary administrative and logistic support to the committee.

The first such committee constituted by the Centre and the State government on January 6 had former retired bureaucrat MP Bezbaruah as the chairman and included eminent persons from different walks of life.

After signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, a number of measures were taken to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people envisaged in Clause 6 of the Accord.

These measures included establishment of Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra complex with a financial support of Rs 20.35 crore; modernisation and upgrade of Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio Society in Guwahati; financial assistance of Rs 69.45 crore to 359 satras of Assam; financial assistance of Rs 10 crore for 14 historical monuments for their protection, preservation and development; establishment of an autonomous institution billed Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language Art and Culture Assam (ABILAC) with the aim to research and development of indigenous languages, art and culture of the State and establishment of two Central universities at Tezpur and Silchar.

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