Assam seeks Rs.250 billion as insurgency damages from New Delhi

December 19th, 2008 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Dec 19 (IANS) The Assam government is seeking compensation from the central government for the whopping loss of about Rs.250 billion that the state has incurred due to 30 years of insurgency. “In the last 30 years, Assam’s economy has been badly affected due to insurgency, leading to fall in investments and damage of infrastructure,” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said in a memorandum submitted to the 13th Finance Commission Thursday.

The commission led by its chairman Vijay Kelkar is currently in Guwahati to work out budgetary allocations for Assam.

“We want Assam to be treated like other insurgency affected states like Jammu and Kashmir and want financial dispensation from the central government to the tune of Rs.250 billion for the economic losses incurred due to insurgency,” Gogoi said.

Making a strong plea for an “insurgency damages neutralization grant”, the Assam government submitted a detailed memorandum to the commission. The Rs.250 billion apart, the state government has sought an additional Rs.200 billion towards infrastructure development, healthcare, education and police modernisation.

“It is impossible to fight militants and terrorists with obsolete weapons and hence we need to modernize our police force for which we require funds in the next five years from the commission,” said Ajit Singh, Assam’s parliamentary secretary for finance.

An estimated Rs.80 billion was sought for police modernisation by the Assam government. The state’s main losses due to insurgency were damages to roads and bridges, flight of capital and businesses, maintaining central paramilitary forces, besides compensation to victims of terror.

“With several militant organisations operating in the state, insurgency is, to a large extent, a proxy war against the nation by some unfriendly neighbour. To combat insurgency and cross border terrorism, the state government has to rely more on central paramilitary forces and has to bear 10 percent deployment charge. Other northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir do not have to pay any deployment charge,” the chief minister told the commission.

Gogoi said there were about 14 militant groups active in Assam.

“Quite a few of them have their bases and training camps in neighbouring countries and forged links with international terrorist networks,” the chief minister said.

The chairman of the commission was positive in his response.

“We got a very positive indication from Kelkar and hope we get a judicious hearing when the Commission allocates the budget for Assam,” the chief minister said.

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