Guwahati (Assam) [India], December 1 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday hit out at the Congress over its ongoing 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' (march to unite country), saying there was no need for such a march as the country is already united.
Speaking to reporters in Guwahati on Thursday, the Assam CM said, "The Congress' theme (for the march) is totally wrong. If they had launched the march for 'Swachh Bharat' (clean India), education or health, it would have held some meaning for the public. Now that the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' has reached Assam, it would mean that the Congress supports the (statehood) demand of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). It also implies, therefore, that the Congress believes Assam is not a part of India."
Questioning the need for holding a long foot march straddling several states that are 'already united', Sarma said, "What is the sense in launching a 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and other states? Are these states not with India? Have they set out unite the country in a unique way?"
"We are all united and live as one. If someone starts a 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in a state where peace, harmony and unity prevail, then it is nothing but an insult to the state. It is like saying that the state is not with India," the Assam CM further alleged.
The Yatra, which kicked off from Kanyakumari on September 7, will cover a distance of 3,570 kms and culminate in Kashmir next year.
The Congress had earlier claimed that it was the longest march on foot by any Indian politician in the history of India.
The Congress's Assam unit also launched a parallel foot march in the state on November 1 from Golakganj in the Dhubri district, along the Assam-West Bengal border.
The 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', Assam, covered a 12-km distance in Guwahati and ended at Chandmari in Guwahati.
The march has now moved to the Golaghat district of Assam.
On the recent ragging incident at the Dibrugarh University, Sarma said his government was mulling steps to stop the practice at academic institutions.
"We will have to remove all ex-students from university campuses. The state government will launch an operation soon to ensure that no ex-students are staying at hostels of colleges or universities. I think it will reduce ragging incidents by at least 60 per cent. Our government has resolved to undertake a major initiative to put an end to ragging. We will launch a crackdown on the practice," the Assam CM said.
The CM also reviewed the progress of work on several road connectivity projects in the state.
Sarma said, "Many road connectivity projects are currently underway in the state. These include the Guwahati-North Guwahati connecting bridge, which is coming up at a cost of Rs 2,608 crore, Palasbari-Sualkuchi connecting bridge at a cost of Rs 3,197 crore and the 'Assam Mala' projects in three phases at a cost of Rs 11,273 crore. The Lok Nirman Bibhag (public infrastructure department) of the state government is either implementing or has taken the initiative to implement these projects."
"The (state) finance ministry has also sanctioned two externally-aided projects for the state -- the entire road network in the Dima Hasao district at a cost of Rs 3,800 crore and converting the wooden bridges to concrete ones at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore. Apart from state-funded projects or those under PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana), road works on a massive scale at Rs 25,000 crore have either been sanctioned or already being implemented. The state cabinet has approved three new flyovers in Guwahati and a road which will connect the airport's new terminal to Azara," he added. (ANI)