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Sarkar declares war on corruption

Chief minister Manik Sarkar (left) at a bamboo-wood flooring unit in Agartala on Sunday. (PTI)

Agartala, Feb. 2: Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar has declared a war on corruption in the “lower echelons” of the government and threatened to take drastic action against people involved in corrupt practices.

Addressing a rally at Kumarghat in Unakoti district yesterday in the afternoon, Sarkar said the “worst enemy of good governance” is corruption and “apathetic attitude of a section of officers and employees” towards people’s welfare.

“We have been implementing a large number of central and state schemes for poverty alleviation, employment generation, infrastructure building and upgrade of livelihood of people, but corruption is eating into the vitals of the implementation process; we must get rid of corruption,” Sarkar said.

He, however, asserted that Tripura is remarkably free from the “scourge of corruption” at higher political and administrative levels, but at the lower level of administration corruption is still rampant.

“Over the last few years we have put more than a hundred panchayat secretaries under suspension on charges of corruption in the rural development department. A number of engineers and other junior officials have been proceeded against, but there is no sign of corruption ebbing. If necessary, we will take more proactive measures.”

The chief minister also claimed that despite high incidence of corruption in recent times, Tripura is still better off than most other states. He lashed out at a section of officers and employees “who show a callous disregard for welfare of people and do not complete their assigned tasks in time”. “It is wrong to think that we ministers take all decisions by ourselves; the case is not so. There is a weekly cabinet meeting which takes all major decisions on the basis of proposals prepared by commissioners or principal secretaries of various departments.”

He called upon employees and officers in the administration not to think in terms of party affiliations. “A government is mandated to work for all sections of people. If an individual or a group is found to be opposed to us politically, we cannot and should not deny him or the group their legitimate dues.” He described “party-centric thinking” as a “bane in administration” and called upon all elected representatives of his party to show respect to those in the Opposition as well as work for all sections of people.

Sarkar inaugurated a panchayat training institute at Kumarghat yesterday before addressing the gathering.