Government will not tolerate attacks on minorities: PM

November 25th, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghAizawl, Nov 25 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated Tuesday his government would not tolerate attacks on religious and other minorities and do every thing possible to ensure that perpetrators of such hate crimes are dealt with severely.”We firmly believe that our country can progress when all minority groups in the country feel safe and secure and the benefits of progress and development reach them,” Manmohan Singh said at a rally here ahead of state elections on Saturday.

The prime minister, who addressed meetings in capital Aizawl and at Lunglei in the southern part of the northeastern state, said: “It is a matter of national shame that peace loving minorities have been attacked in Orissa and Karnataka. The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government would spare no effort in rebuilding the churches, schools and orphanages.”

Coming down heavily on the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) government in Mizoram, he added: “With the Congress-led UPA government at the centre and a Congress government in Mizoram, we would together make sure that all development programmes are properly implemented with all sincerety and urgency.”

He promised that if voted to power the Congress would again implement the New Land Use policy to benefit farmers and poor people. The Congress had put in place the policy in Mizoram in 1984.

“Unfortunately, the MNF discontinued this useful policy,” he alleged.

“If the centrally sponsored welfare and development programmes are not touching your lives in Mizoram and do not have the desired impact, it is because the MNF government has failed. The funds that have been earmarked by the central government for various developmental programmes have not been utilised by the state government to the fullest extent and with sincerity.”

He said he was sorry that corruption under the MNF government had reached endemic proportions. “There are allegations of irregularities by the state government machinery even in programmes for the poor, like NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) and the loan waiver scheme.”

Funds meant for tribal welfare had been squandered, he claimed. “There is financial mismanagement in central sponsored projects like the Turial Hydel project, Referral Hospital and the Aizawl Water Supply Scheme.”

The Mizoram government, the prime minister asserted, had not submitted the requisite proposals under the Horticulture Mission to implement the programme through vast potentialities for horticulture exist in the mountainous state.

“Though adequate funds have been made available to Mizoram, the pace of execution of works under the Bharat Nirman programme of the UPA government is extremely slow in the state.”

According to the prime minister, more than Rs.1.25 billion had been given to tackle the menace of bamboo flowering that is often seen by locals as a precursor to famines as these flowers attract rats in large numbers.

“What happened to all this money? Do you really want a government, which is unaccountable and tainted? The Congress party does not believe in blame game but the facts are there for you to see.”

Besides, the UPA government had given Rs.1.17 billion so far to Mizoram under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). However, the MNF government had been able to spend only Rs.690 million, the prime minister said.

He later left Aizawl for New Delhi.

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