Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dated July 27, 2010

Dear Sir and Madam,

I begin my today's email with a quote from Transparency India's report on corruption levels in various Indian sates. The exact words in the report were that the corruption levels in most services in Assam were "high or very high or alarming". This is the report for your reference -

It is indeed very sad. But, the question is how did we arrive here? I don't know whether you have ever been to rural Assam or not. So, let me tell you that ‎95% of the people of Assam are very innocent (seedha-saadha) and gullible. That's why the 5% of the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are taking advantage of us. It's almost similar to the situation when a handful of British exploited India for hundreds of years. I say "almost similar" and not "exactly similar" because in Assam things can drastically improve if the Central Government starts taking  active participation and interest.

There are numerous scams which have not been unearthed yet. And, the ones that have been unearthed, have also not received requisite attention. A case in point is the NC Hills scam. On June 22, 2007, the State Cabinet had discussed the issue of rampant embezzlement of development funds meant for NC Hills district. After a detailed discussion, the Cabinet meeting had taken the decision to release all funds to the district, both of the Centre and the State Government, including funds under Plan and Non-Plan heads, through the HAD Department only. The Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had taken the decision in order to effect fiscal discipline and to keep a watch on the funds being pumped to the hill district. It was imperative for all the departments to respect the Cabinet decision. The State Health department, however, did not bother to follow the Cabinet decision, nor did the other departments as mentioned. The Health Department continued to pump crores of rupees to the hill district directly, bypassing the HAD Department. The Social Welfare and Food and Civil Supplies departments also released funds directly to NC Hills district. Within a month of the Cabinet decision, the Health Department had directly released Rs 63.43 lakh to the NCHAC on July 17, 2007, and then Rs 24.25 lakh on August 4, 2007, Rs 118.75 lakh on September 27, 2007, Rs 30 lakh on October 11, 2007, Rs 1.81 lakh on January 11, 2008, and Rs 94.18 lakh in two instalments on March 24, 2008. The Social Welfare Department, to which the prime accused in the multi-crore NC Hills scam Mr. Khan belonged, had released Rs 1,92,91,770 on October 10, 2007, while the Food and Civil Supplies Department had released Rs 1.19 lakh on March 12, 2008 to the NCHAC directly. 

The Health and Family Welfare, Social Welfare and Food and Civil Supplies departments have not been able to give any appropriate reply as to why they had released funds directly to the NCHAC despite the Cabinet restriction on such practices. The mysterious silence being maintained by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on the issue only adds to the suspicion as to whether Dispur was involved in the multi-crore-rupee scam. 

Though the CBI has been investigating the NC Hills scam, a number of departments, including the Health Department, are outside the purview of the inquiry. The public opinion in Assam is that all departments of NCHAC should be brought under the purview of the CBI probe.

I would urge the Central Government to intervene immediately. I understand that you probably feel that exposing corruption in politicians belonging to your own party might hamper your performance in the next election. But, it is actually the other way round. When the common people of this country will see that  the Congress does not tolerate corrupt politicians even if they are their own, it will actually boost your image and will gain you more support.

Thanks a lot for your time and help.

I sincerely hope (against hope) to get a reply to my email. Even if you do not reply to my emails, I am perfectly fine as long as the Central Government starts taking active interest in Assam.

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