Assam finance and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday took Jorhat by storm by riding a red scooty as the lead bike of a huge motorcycle rally.

Sarma was here to lay the foundation stone of the second road overbridge at Jail Road in front of the Jorhat Medical College Hospital.

During his visit to Jorhat, minister Sarma played the poll bugle by enumerating the achievements of the BJP-led governments both at the Centre and the state, especially the departments that he heads.

The State Assembly elections are slated to be held early this year.

He also symbolically laid the foundation stone of a Regional Forensic Science Laboratory to be built at Garmur here.

Sarma’s arrival at the Rowriah Airport was greeted by enthusiastic BJP and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) members.

The BJP and BJYM members followed Sarma’s red scooty on their two-wheelers as he rode through the streets of the town being frequently stopped to be greeted by supporters – young and old – with gamosas and shower of flower petals.

A poll campaign song in Assamese played in loudspeakers along the route added to the atmosphere.

Security personnel had a tough time in restraining young enthusiasts, who wanted to take photographs along with the minister in their mobile phones and one even got close enough to give him a kiss.

Sarma laid the foundation stone of the Rs 78.9 crore ROB having a length of 580.65 metres at the Kamar Bandha Road, popularly known as Jail Road, in front of the Jorhat Medical College Hospital.

He disclosed that 65% of the work of the ROB under-construction at Na-Ali here, the foundation-stone of which was laid by the chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on September 30, 2018, had been completed and would be ready for use within this year.

On the development works initiated in Jorhat after the BJP-led government came to power, the minister said roads and bridges got a new lease of life with 150 km stretch of road constructed across the district under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

He said 300 km of road have been turned pucca in the district.

He informed that works to the tune of Rs 80 crore under the City Infrastructure Development Fund and three major projects under the signature scheme of the government were underway in the district.

The minister also stated that 52 wooden bridges were converted to RCC in the district.

Sarma, who is also the education minister, said providing access to education as the basic pathway to uplift the society the government undertook a series of measures to enable poor and marginalized sections of the society to pursue education.

He said about 20 lakh students so far have got free enrollment in colleges.

The minister informed that free distribution of books would be extended to school students of  IX and  X  standards.

The minister further announced about depositing Rs 1,500 in bank accounts of college (degree level) students in the next 20 to 25 days.

He said the government has also decided to deposit Rs 10,000 to college hostel students to bear their mess fees and Rs 100 daily expense during college days for buying tiffin.

He spoke about the number of new higher educational institutes being established in the state, a few already under-construction.

Sarma also highlighted various initiatives undertaken to empower women, provide employment avenues to youths, controlling the outbreak of COVID19 pandemic and providing free medical care to infected patients.

Sarma praised Assembly speaker and Jorhat MLA Hitendra Nath Goswami for the large-scale developmental activities undertaken at Jorhat under him.

Rajya Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, minister of state for revenue and disaster management Jogen Mohan, Jorhat Lok Sabha MP Topon Kumar Gogoi were also attended the function.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com