Congress protest in Assam demanding special status for northeast

Guwahati, Feb 24 (IANS) Just days ahead of the union budget, the Assam unit of the Congress on Wednesday took to the streets protesting against the ‘indifferent attitude’ of the central government to discontinue with the special category status for the northeastern states.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Anjan Dutta led the protest rally from the Latasil playground to the office of the deputy commissioner of Kamrup Metro district in Kachari area, and submitted a memorandum to him, to be handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding fulfilment of various demands.

“We have been protesting for more than one year over some whimsical policy decisions of the central government that has cost Assam and the other northeastern states. However, the Centre’s attitude towards our demands has remained indifferent,” Dutta said.

“It was a whimsical decision of the central government to discontinue the special category state status from Assam and other northeastern states.

“The discontinuation of the 90:10 central funding pattern and discontinuation of the North East Industrial and Investment Policy (NEIIPP) affected the development of the state very badly,” he said.

Dutta urged Modi to restore the earlier status immediately for the overall betterment of the northeastern region.

“We also demanded the prime minister to grant Scheduled Tribe status to the six communities — Tai Ahom, Moran, Mottock, Koch Rajbongshi, Chutia and tea tribes — for the overall development of the state,” he said.

The state Congress chief said they also demanded the prime minister execute the central government decision to form the Brahmaputra River Valley Authority for controlling the flood and erosion problem in the state.

“The special funding system being enjoyed by a few selected districts of Assam under the Backward Area Region Fund has to be restored immediately,” he said.

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