The leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, said on Friday that contrary to the promise of ‘Poriborton’ or change made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led State Government, development activities have come to a “virtual standstill” in Assam.
Saikia said that this fact was underlined when the Assam Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister Rihon Daimary admitted in the Assembly on September 27 last that not only has no new piped water supply scheme been sanctioned in the current financial year but not even a single paisa has been sanctioned for maintenance of functional schemes. Although the reason cited for non-initiation of new schemes is completion of incomplete schemes, the reality is that numerous schemes still remain far from complete.
He mentioned that the PHE Minister had assured him in the House during a sitting in February 2017 that departmental officials had been directed to expedite work for the Namdangiya and Gelekey Moran water supply schemes in the Nazira Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC), but the schemes remain incomplete even though over one-and-a-half years have elapsed since then.
The Opposition leader said that certain other indicators of the department’s performance emerged from questions posed by other members in the House, such as the fact that not a single Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) unit has been sanctioned in the current financial year. This apart, only 5,834 piped water supply schemes are functional in Assam out of 9,420 schemes, with 2288 schemes being non-functional and 1,298 others still at the construction stage. For instance, only 10 out of 31 schemes are functional in the Doom Dooma LAC, with as many as 16 being non-functional and five others being at the construction stage. Although sanction for revival of the non-functional schemes was accorded in the financial year 2017-18, nothing has been done on the ground.
Saikia said the people of Assam had not expected a ‘Poriborton’ which would make a drop of potable water scarce in the State.