The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 3 , 2014
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Absent officers annoy Sonowal

- Union minister trains guns on Absentees
Union minister of state for sports and youth affairs Sarbananda Sonowal takes aim after inaugurating the 2nd Northeast zonal shooting championship in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Sept. 2: Miffed at the absence of any Assam minister or official at a review meet here on the state’s roads, Union minister of state for sports and youth affairs Sarbananda Sonowal today questioned the seriousness of the Congress-led government towards the development of the state.

“Till yesterday, the Assam government had said its ministers and representatives would attend the meeting. But it is rather surprising and sad that not a single minister or official from the state government was present today,” Sonowal, who also holds the skill development and entrepreneurship portfolios, told reporters. He said at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed Union road, transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari to take special steps for the development of roads and bridges in the Northeast, the state government’s indifferent role was questionable.

The minister had conducted the review on road development for Assam following a directive from the Union surface transport ministry. “We want to complete the pending road projects in the Barak and the Brahmaputra valleys. Issues regarding development of roads and bridges were discussed at the meeting. We also discussed why construction/repair of roads/bridges in both the valleys have been delayed and how we could fast-track the projects for improving connectivity,” he said.

“This kind of a review meeting never happened during the UPA government’s tenure. So, it is for the conscious section to introspect whether the state government is really serious about the state’s progress. Politics or parties have no place when it comes to development. So for whatever reason chief minister Tarun Gogoi might have taken the decision, the people of Assam can never accept it. He will be answerable to the people on this in future,” Sonowal said.

Fifteen MPs, including four from the Congress, attended the meeting. “We are happy that all the MPs attended the meeting. The Centre and the state must work towards the development of Assam in the interest of its people,” Sonowal said.

Officials from National Highways Authority of India, Border Roads Development and Gammon India, among others, attended the meeting. Apart from implementation of the schemes and the need for new measures, the review meet also discussed with Gammon officials the possibility of completing the bridge over the Brahmaputra adjacent to the Saraighat rail-cum-road bridge on the outskirts here by October 2015.