Tuesday, February 5, 2008

BTC seeks additional funds from Centre

Kokrajhar, Feb. 4: The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) has asked Delhi for an additional Rs 500 crore for the development of the four districts under its jurisdiction.
The council’s deputy chief, K. Borgayary, told reporters that the Rs 500-crore package granted by the Centre in 2003 was “very small money considering the huge area of the council”.
He said more money was required as the council had to look after four districts (Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri) covering an area of 8,900 square km.
The package money was part of the memorandum of settlement signed by the Union and Assam governments with the militant Bodo Liberation Tigers in 2003.
A major portion of this money was required to be used for construction of roads and bridges as the Bodo-dominated area governed by the autonomous council, created as a provision of the memorandum of settlement, had poor connectivity with the rest of the country.
At present, Delhi sends the money to the state government, which then gives it to the council.
As this delays the process of receiving the money, the BTC has requested the Centre to send the money directly, Borgayary said.
So far, the DoNER ministry has approved 39 projects initiated under the package.
Some of the major projects being undertaken by the BTC under the package are the Bodofa cultural complex, Kokrajhar town water supply, revival and completion of Champamati irrigation project, a super-speciality hospital at Kajalgaon, cold storage at Patgaon and Rowta and RNB Civil Hospital.
A senior BTC official said the Bodofa cultural complex is being built on the lines of the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati.
It will be a place of tourist attraction and for preservation of cultural heritage.
It will comprise a craft village, an art gallery, an open-air theatre and bronze cast sculptures, among others.
The project is scheduled to be completed next year.
A Rs 34-crore permanent Assembly and secretariat building is also being built for the council which is functioning from a temporary hall at present.
The council has provided a plot in Chirang district for setting up an airport.
It is trying to initiate several major projects in private-public participation with the help of IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.
The BTC also requires more funds for the development of tourist sites.
“We have worked hard and we want more help from the Centre,” the BTC official said.

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