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AGP slams Dispur on arrears

AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta addresses the news conference in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Dec. 4: AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta today accused the Congress of misappropriating public money and its failure to release arrears to its employees.

Mahanta criticised chief minister Tarun Gogoi for not taking the problems of state government employees seriously and demanded that he make public the total expenditure and source of money used in the marriage of his son, Gaurav.

“Assam lags behind other states because of corruption in revenue collection and misappropriation of funds that the state gets under various central government schemes. Does Gogoi have the courage to bring out all the black money from the ministers of his cabinet and pay arrears of the state government employees?” Mahanta asked.

“Gogoi said the state government would become bankrupt if it released the arrears to its employees. If the financial condition of the state is so bad, where did he get crores of rupees to spend at his son’s wedding?” Mahanta asked.

The state government has come under severe criticism from the AGP and BJP following a recent statement of Gogoi that the state government would become bankrupt if it paid the arrears to its employees.

The Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad (SAKP), the apex body of employee unions in the state, has been demanding the government to release its salary arrears for 33 months.

The Parishad also announced a statewide dharna on December 17 in support of its demand.

According to estimate of SAKP, the salary arrears will come to around Rs 3,800 crore. It said the government was yet to agree on paying the arrears for the period between January 1, 2006 and September 31, 2008.

Yesterday, Assam state president of BJP Sarbananda Sonowal also blamed the state government for its failure to release the arrears of the employees.

“Tarun Gogoi promised the employees that the state government would pay them on a par with the central government employees. Gogoi’s remark on the issue was painful,” said Sonowal.

Mahanta also criticised Gogoi’s recent decision to return the cheques donated by tea companies. Recently, 25 tea companies in the state donated to the chief minister’s relief funds.

But Gogoi returned the donation saying it was a “paltry amount” considering the benefits the tea companies were enjoying from the state government.

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