Guwahati, Sept. 20: The AGP today termed chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s announcement of filling up 40,000 vacant posts in state government departments as a “political gimmick” with an eye on the 2014 general elections.
AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta told reporters here that the announcement was “hilarious” since the Centre had asked state governments not to create any new post and not to fill up posts lying vacant for more than a year because of the ongoing financial crisis in the country.
“In such a situation, we fail to understand from where Gogoi will give so many appointments,” said Mahanta, adding that the chief minister was trying to mislead the people of the state.
Gogoi had said on September 16 that the state government would initiate the process of filling up the 40,000-odd vacancies in government departments.
Mahanta said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had expressed concern over Rs 887.03 crore that was lying unspent with the state government.
“It is unfortunate that the state government has not been able to utilise the amount as a result of which the people of the state are deprived of development,” he said.
Giving a department-wise break-up, Mahanta said Rs 222 crore in the agriculture department, Rs 249 crore in the primary education department, Rs 75 crore in veterinary and animal husbandry department, Rs 39 crore in cultural affairs department and Rs 24 crore in fisheries department were lying unused.
He also criticised the state government for increasing value added tax (VAT) on various items, including essential ones.
The state government, by a notification dated September 13, had increased VAT on items such as light diesel oil and high speed diesel, kerosene oil sold through modes other than fair price shop, cosmetics, perfumes and toiletries, including soaps, shampoos and hair oils from 12.5 per cent to 13.5 per cent.
“Increase in VAT on diesel and kerosene oil will trigger further price rise and put unnecessary burden on the common man, who is already reeling under pressures of unprecedented price rise,” the AGP chief said.
He said the state government was increasing taxes since the state was in financial doldrums.