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UTDC justifies separation of Barak Valley

SILCHAR, Sept 5: Union Territory Demand Committee (UTDC) has justified the separation of Barak Valley from Assam on the grounds of 'injustice and discrimination' of the successive State Governments at Dispur which have never been serious about the development of the region.
Paritosh Paul Chowdhury, president of UTDC, said just after the partition of the country, the demand has been raised for an independent Barak Valley to be given the status of union territory which they said should be rechristened as 'Purvachal'. He added to say that among all the districts of Assam, undivided Cachar has been a revenue surplus area, contributing enormously to the State exchequer.
But political and bureaucratic conspiracy has turned it into a colony, meant for exploitation. Barak Valley has been one among the 13 most backward areas of thecountry. Lack of communication, agricultural improvement, infrastructure, unemployment andunscientific management of resources have stalled the development of this area.
Paul Chowdhury cited the specific instances of the Silchar-Lumding broadgauge and the East-West Corridor targeted to be completed by 2002 and 2003 which are still uncertain. "This is a glaring example of how the State has remained indifferent to both the public projects", he pointed out. He pointed out that whereas in theinsurgency-hit Jammu and Kashmir, as well as Tripura, the railway network has been completed. Former Union Minister Bijoy Handique himself spoke about the callousness of the AssamGovernment towards the BG project.
The most essential component of economic development is power. Sadly enough, UTDC president said this sector has never been given any priority by the State Government. Against the peak hour demand of 100 MW in the valley, only 25 MW is available . Healleged that the proposed BHEL project for generating 120 MW of power at the initiative of former Central Minister Sontosh Mohan Dev has been bogged down by theState.
Neither is Dispur serious about thepublic demand for setting up mini hydel power projects, considering the water resources of the valley. Even the exploration of abundant oil and gas resources has not been attached much importance. All thiswould have contributed towards the industrialization of the area, he pointed. Agriculture is another area which has been grossly neglected. The irrigation facility is almost non existent. He asked about the Rs 1,000 crore economicpackage announced by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for this valley just on the eve of the last Assembly elections. He considers itas a 'lollipop' for the people.
The less populated and scare revenue generating areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya are today separate States. This valley is not only geographically isolated, but is alsococooned from the mainland Assam, Paul Chowdhury said. He further said how in the event of Barak Valley becoming a union territory, it would ensure all rounddevelopment. There would be no more problem of 'D' voters or place for 'mean politics', he said. It would also ensure safety and security for all.
An unanimous resolution demanding the separation of Barak Valley as 'union territory' was adopted at the Sunday convention of UTDC here. (SentinelAssam)

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