Guwahati, Friday, September 4, 2020

State to get 3 more autonomous councils
STAFF REPORTER
 GUWAHATI, Sept 3 - The Assam Legislative Assembly today paved the way for formation of three new autonomous councils in the State by passing the Moran Autonomous Council Bill, 2020, the Matak Autonomous Council Bill, 2020 and the Kamatapur Autonomous Council Bill, 2020.

 The three Bills were moved in the State Assembly by Minister for Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes Chandan Brahma.

The minister said that the Kamatapur Autonomous Council will have its territory in the undivided Goalpara district, excluding the BTAD and the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council areas. The Moran Autonomous Council and Matak Autonomous Council will have their territories demarcated in the upper Assam region.

Even as the three Bills were placed in the Assembly, opposition MLAs raised the issue of granting ST status to six communities, namely Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Moran, Matak and tea tribes.

Congress MLA Rakibul Hussain questioned whether creating of autonomous councils will stall the process of granting ST status to the six communities. He also pointed out that there is a need to have in place a satellite autonomous council system to cover each member of the three communities who are scattered in different parts of the State.

Later, reacting to the development, Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi alleged that the step to create three autonomous councils is nothing but a divide-and-rule policy adopted by the ruling party, which it had earlier employed on the six communities who are eagerly waiting to get the ST status.

Moreover, a section of the opposition MLAs also questioned the ruling party’s intention over naming of the Kamatapur Autonomous Council.

AIUDF MLA Mamun Imdadul Haque Chawdhury questioned as to why unlike the two other Bills, the Bill for Koch-Rajbongshi community does not have the community’s name in it and instead carries the name of geographical area. The legislator sought clarification whether the Bill, in any manner, aspires to create further geographical division of Assam.

Replying to the queries, minister Brahma said that the Bill does not seek to legitimise any demand for a separate state. He further stated that formation of the three councils will not cause delay in granting ST status to the six communities.

“Granting ST status to the six communities is a priority of the State government and the process is in the last stage,” Brahma added.