Sarma said the education scheme related to the paper mills, entailing Rs 5 crore, would be implemented in February.
Guwahati: A day after addressing a massive public rally in Dhemaji, Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday announced a set of sops for children, teachers, health workers and the differently-abled while rejecting the possibility of holding talks with those leading the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), claiming that objective of the ongoing agitation is to form a political party to uproot the BJP from Assam.
Mr Sarma on Thursday told reporters, “We were prepared to hold talks with protesters and people leading to anti-CAA movement in the state but now those leading the anti-CAA movements are not talking about the Act.
The Aasu (All Assam Students’ Union) general secretary in his speech is talking more about the BJP and threatening to bring us to book by forming a political party instead of talking about the CAA.”
He said, “The objective of those leading the movement is no longer restricted to the CAA. They want to form a political party to teach us (the Bharatiya Janata Party) a lesson. We will have to fight them politically as they are threatening to uproot BJP from the state.”
Mr Sarma also said that he would be responding to all the allegations and charges brought against the BJPbesides putting forward the reasons for which they have been backing the CAA. Mr Sarma also announced that one-time financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each would be given to each of the wards of 700 employees of two dead paper mills, who are pursuing studies in a medical or engineering college or a similar course.
The Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited used to run these mills.
“Likewise, Rs 75,000 each will be given to those children pursuing post-graduate studies or doing PhD research, Rs 50,000 each to those pursuing graduation in colleges or diploma in polytechnics, Rs 25,000 to those studying in Standard XI and XII and Rs 10,000 to those studying from nursery to class 10,” he said.
Mr Sarma said the education scheme related to the paper mills, entailing Rs 5 crore, would be implemented in February.
After applications are submitted online from January 14, the amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries who will be selected following a process of screening by the deputy commissioners (district magistrates) of the two districts where the mills are located.
A week ago, the children of Cachar Paper Mill employees took to the streets with begging bowls, seeking help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Mr Sarma also announced a health scheme through which some 50,000 employees under National Health Mission can claim medical reimbursement of up to Rs 5 lakh annually from the government. The scheme covers the members of their families too.
“We will extend this health scheme also to 50,000 teachers contracted through TET (Teacher Eligibility Test) as well as the state pool teachers under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the next two months. The additional teachers or contractual teachers working in government high schools will also be covered under it,” he said.
The minister, who is being targeted by anti-CAA movement allegedly for his attempt to defuse the movement by organizing a peace march across the state, said that his third scheme is for differently-abled state government employees. The government would bear four per cent of the interest if they avail a bank loan to buy a two-wheeler or a car.
The last fortnight, the minister Mr Sarma had announced ‘50,000 as a one-time grant for some 2,000 artistes and technicians of the state. The government also announced the creation of autonomous councils for certain communities and handing over land settlement deeds to some 40,000 indigenous people.
Earlier on Wednesday Mr Sarma while addressing a huge public rally of BJP at Dhemaji created a controversy by saying that 90 per cent of the Congress MLAs in Assam are descendants of Bangladeshi migrants.
“Ninety per cent of Congress MLAs are descendants of Bangladeshis. The Congress had made four Arabic college and several madrassas,” Mr Sarma said.
He further alleged that the leadership of student body Assam Students’ Union (Aasu), that is spearheading the protests against the citizenship law, is also soft on Bangladeshis.