The roadmap will be prepared by a committee, consisting of five representatives from Aasu and three ministers of the Assam government, Aasu president Dipanka Kumar Nath told mediapersons after the meeting.
He informed that implementation of clauses 6 to 10 of the Assam Accord and overall development aspects will figure in the roadmap. The last chief minister-level talks on Assam Accord were held under the chairmanship of the then chief minister Tarun Gogoi on May 2, 2005. Aasu also raised an objection to the Citizenship Amendment Act during Tuesday’s meeting.
“So that talks on the Assam Accord yield results, the joint committee will be formed. The roadmap will be on expediting the process of implementing the unfulfilled clauses of the Accord. If needed, discussions will be held with the Union home ministry, which is the nodal ministry for Assam Accord implementation,” said Nath.
A Union home ministry-constituted high-powered Clause 6 committee on the Assam Accord, headed by retired judge of Gauhati High Court, Biplab Kumar Sharma, submitted its report to former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his cabinet colleagues on February 25 last year. Clause 6 seeks provisions for granting constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. The report, which was to be sent to the Centre, however, could not bring effective implementation of the all-important clause yet.
A 41-member central committee delegation participated in the chief minister-level talks on the Assam Accord convened after 16 years. Besides the Accord Accord implementation issue, the range of issues that were deliberated upon in the meeting included the mega dam concerns and demand for preservation of the memories of cultural icon Bhupen Hazarika and beautification of his cremation ground in Guwahati.
Nath said the chief minister assured them that fruitful measures would be initiated to institute chairs in Hazarika’s name in Gauhati, Dibrugarh and Tezpur universities. “In the school curriculum, the government has agreed to our demand of incorporating the works of Bhupen Hazarika. The chief minister also assured us that he will raise before the Centre our demand of renaming Guwahati railway station and terminus after Bhupen Hazarika,” Nath added.
Aasu chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya lauded chief minister Sarma’s initiative of inviting them to talks on Assam Accord voluntarily. “Constitutional safeguard, economic safeguard, protection of tribal belts, blocks and government lands, NRC update, sealing India-Bangladesh border, permanent solution to floods and erosion and rehabilitation of Assam Agitation victims and martyrs’ families will be on the agenda of the committee,” said Bhattacharyya.
He was hopeful that the committee will take measures to settle the demands of Aasu once and for all. He said cumulative impact study of the mega dams under construction in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra must be carried out before a major devastation strikes the northeast.