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November 02, 2010

Barak valley residents rue lack of development

SILCHAR, Nov 1 – The frustrated people of Barak Valley, have lost all faith on the politicians who have done nothing in terms of any development work including of the roads in this valley at least in the last five years. As the Assembly elections are knocking at the door, this is the topic of discussion in every street corner, tea stalls and other public places. This time not only the intellectuals and senior citizens but also the unemployed young people are thinking seriously about the matter.
The main issue confronting the people of Barak valley is the condition of the roads. The roads are in a horrible condition and one who has not visited the valley cannot believe the state the roadsare in. The Silchar-Karimganj road is in a terrible condition. The distance from Silchar to Karimganj is only 55 kilometres. But it takes a minimum of three hours in a private vehicle to reach there. According to senior citizens, it is a path to hell for them. But whom do they tell, share, complain. There is no one to hear.
Another road, the National Highway 44 which connects the Barak valley, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura is also in a very horrible condition. The road from Katigorah to Malidahar near the Meghalaya border is in a very terrible state. The buses take nearly 17 to 20 hours, whereas the normal time is 12 hours. There have been many agitations, hunger strikes, road blocks but there has been no result. The people of southern Assam have to depend on this route as the train services are very irregular.
It is to be mentioned that more than five months have elapsed since the most powerful and flamboyant Minister of Excise and Border Area Development, Gautom Roy, made a commitment to the people of Katigorah that he would personally see that NH-44 stretch in Barak Valley is repaired and improved.
A cross-section of people under the banner of various organisations were compelled to stage angry demonstrations against the PWD (NH) division of Cachar and blocked the highway for hours, a few days back. Their anger and resentment was vented at the worst shape of the highway which is full of potholes and craters.
The Barak valley stretch of the highway extends from Churaibari-Tripura border to Malidahar on Meghalaya border. The minister in order to reinforce his commitment came to the troubled spot along with the Deputy Commissioner, SP, Executive Engineer of NH division and other officials.
In the valley, in every development work there is mis-appropriation. There are many allegations of misappropriation of fund in various departments. Since the ‘money’ is distributed through ‘proper channel’, so there is no inquiry and allegations die a normal death.
Since the Assembly elections are knocking at the door, the political parties have geared up their campaign. That there are six MLAs from the Congress and one Independent who later joined the Congress. Overall there are seven MLAs from the ruling party. Among them Dinesh Prasad Goala and Gautam Roy have been in the ministry for the last two terms i.e., ten years. The people of Barak Valley are interested to know the development that they have done in the last two tenures in terms of communication and other work.
The role of the Silchar MLA in this tenure is also nominal. According to the people she has done nothing in the last five years. The electorate further said that she could have done much more as her husband Santosh Mohan Dev was in the Union Cabinet earlier.
Among the fifteen seats in the Assembly, AIUDF has got three seats. The Katigorah MLA who is from the AIUDF has gone for indefinite hunger strike for the renovation of NH 44. But this cannot be considered a big achievement as there were many more development works which could have been done in Katigorah constituency in the last five years. The role of the BJP is insignificant as their three MLAs were suspended from the party for supporting the Congress in the Rajya Sabha elections.
Former MP from Silchar, Santosh Mohan Dev was in the Union cabinet for ten yers. But it has been observed that he did nothing extraordinary in terms of roads and employment. The condition of HPC at Panchgram is in dire straits. When he was in ministry, he could have brought an industry so that the unemployed youth of this valley could have got jobs. The broad gauge line and East West corridor is still a fairy tale for the people of the valley. The present MP of Silchar, Kabindra Purkayastha says that these issues will be raised in Parliament, but to work in the Opposition is very difficult. This depicts the picture of the future BJP.
However without solving these issues, the politicians have started their public meetings and party meeting for the forthcoming Assembly elections. But this time, the race will be tough as people have lost trust on these political parties. Unfortunately, substitutes don’t exist. (TheAssamTribune)

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