Sushanta Roy is a journalist in the north eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora, and the things that affect them.

Diphu October 7: Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister visited Dima Hasao autonomous district of Assam today at the invitation of North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council. The Minister launched the Assam’s Right to Public Services Portal  www.rtps.assam.gov.in formally in presence of Assam Chief Minister and other dignitaries from Longku.

The portal is basically aimed to strengthen the Prime Minister’s vision of minimum government and maximum governance; this is a threshold for electronic delivery of notified public services to people and bring about fast, effective and resilient reforms in governance for keeping pace with the rapidly transforming world.

Nirmala Sitharaman also inaugurated an exhibition on Assam Citizen Centric Service Delivery Project. The project is aimed at providing people an easy & timely access to public services from their comfort zone as well as public facilitation centers.

nirmala sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman. Photo: Government of India.

The Union Minister laid the foundation stone of up gradation work of a ninety kilometer road which will connect Haflong Tinali with Lower Haflong, under ADB India aided Assam Road Network Improvement Project today.

The roads will recover road infrastructure in Dima Hasao’s Haflong, Umrongso and other regions. In this project the Assam government will spend Rs 900 cr for building roads in Dima Hasao and Rs 250 cr will be spent for construction of Umrongso-Lanka road within nine months. The other aim for rapid improvement of road infrastructure is to facilitate the tourism sector and economic expansion of the region.

Smt. Sitharaman performed Bhoomi Pujan for Assam Power Generation Company limited 120 MW Lower Kopili Hydro Electric Project at Longku. The project will increase power supply by 469 GW within 2025 & reduce greenhouse gas emission by 360K tons annually. Out of total project cost of Rs 2200 cr, Rs 1700 cr has been provided by Government of India.

At Longku of Dima Hasao autonomous hill district, the union minister was attended by Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma, Chief Minister of Assam, Tuliram Ronghang, Chief Executive Member Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, Debolal Gorlosa, Chief Executive Member North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council and highly placed bureaucrats and administrators.

A joint memorandum signed by Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma, Chief Minister of Assam, Tuliram Ronghang, Chief Executive Member Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, Debolal Gorlosa, Chief Executive Member North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council was submitted to the Union Finance Minister where it has been mentioned that, “two hill areas of Assam i.e. Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao have great potential for generation of hydro-power. If all the rivers and streams of the two hill areas are utilized, then Assam can have self-sufficiency in electric power from ecologically sustainable hydro-power alone”.

Presenting a pen picture of the hydro sector of the state the memo mentioned that, “presently APGCL is producing more than 100 Megawatt of hydro-power from their projects in Karbi Anglong while Dima Hasao is producing more than 200 Megawatt through the NEEPCO project and they are connected to the main power grid of the State. But power supply in our towns and villages is still erratic and not yet dependable for commercial and industrial purposes. Large number of our villages are yet to be connected with electricity and so we urgently require augmentation of power availability and power connectivity in hill districts, particularly in far-flung hilly areas where tribal people live”.

The joint memo has suggested that Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council are willing to produce hydro electric and solar power on their own by setting up projects which have potential in hill areas. This will endow with a sustainable power bank for the use of hill people and supplement the Council’s revenue source.

It may be mentioned that in the recently concluded tripartite accords signed between the Government of India, Government of Assam and representatives of organizations from Karbi Anglong, it has been agreed that the Councils may develop power projects on their own up to 25 megawatt per project and that the function of rural power connectivity may also be entrusted to them. The memo has insisted for a corpus of funds of 100 crores for both the Autonomous Councils to start with.

The letter has pointed out that the contagious hill area of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao was politically separated after the creation of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram States; these separations have resulted in disparity in the per capita plan fund allocation.

Presently, overall budgetary size is about 400 Crores only and the councils receive less than half of the per capita plan fund allocation in comparison to the other tribal states and the autonomous hill districts suffer the embarrassment of being the most backward districts of the nation.

The memo has urged to remove the disparity in the per capita plan fund allocation among the tribal areas of the North-East and raise fund allocation suitably at par with the per capita funding pattern of the tribal states of Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland.