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Council in business

Kokrajhar, Dec. 8: Celebrations and ceremonies over, the interim Bodo administration today got down to business at a temporary office here.

Former militant leader Hagrama Basumatary led the 12-member interim council for the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) into the building at 11 am. They immediately went into a huddle to chalk out a plan of action and the budget for the next financial year.

Principal secretary P.P. Verma spoke on behalf of the council, promising transparency and development of all sectors. “People will get to know what is happening. There will be absolute transparency.”

A nodal officer will be appointed soon to oversee the council’s functioning.

On whether the new administrative set-up had decided to focus on certain areas, Verma said: “Topmost priority will be accorded to development of roads, the healthcare sector and education infrastructure.”

The top bureaucrat allayed fears about the new set-up going the Bodoland Autonomous Council way, saying any digression from rules and regulations would not be tolerated. “We will see to it that the new council is free of corruption. The Bodoland Autonomous Council was a new experience, where rules were not followed. That is why it failed.”

The interim council took the oath of office yesterday at a rally attended by thousands of people. The Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) was formally disbanded the previous day with as many as 2,630 members laying down arms at an elaborate ceremony.

The rival National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), however, continues to shun peace. The banned militant group wants a “sovereign Bodoland” and has rejected the accord that paved the way for a new administrative set-up.

The concern over security was reflected in the deployment of forces here. Police personnel shadowed Basumatary and his 11 colleagues in the interim council everywhere they went.

Before entering the temporary office, which used to be the workplace of the defunct Bodoland Autonomous Council, all 12 members of the council paid homage at the statue of “Bodofa” Upendranath Brahma, who is revered as the father of the Bodoland movement.

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