New Delhi: Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today alleged that the states of north east as well as Jammu and Kashmir are competing in an unequal environment but are often questioned for failing to produce the desired results.
“Aspirations of people of India are the same but the kind of competitive federalism we are in today, people of Assam, north east and Jammu and Kashmir have been asked to compete in an unequal environment. We are asked to produce results,” Sarma said participating in the ongoing India Ideas Conclave organised by NGO India Foundation in south Goa.
He said sometimes in meetings called by the Centre these states are told that their infant mortality is more and are asked to take examples from Maharashtra, Kerala etc.
“How I am going to explain them that 30 per cent of my geographical area is not accessible even for a normal police constable, forget about doctors because of total geographical disconnection.
“How I will explain that in some villages in Arunchal Pradesh people still rely on air-dropping of normal food and they can’t have access to normal food unless it is air-dropped weekly or fortnightly,” Sarma asked.
He said when the people of Assam go to states like Karnataka and Gujarat, they ask when the government is going to introduce metro rail in their state.
“Our people don’t understand that the finance minister of Karnataka has access to Rs 40,000 crore of state revenue of its own and your finance minister has access to Rs 4,000 crore.”
“What is a crime of an Assamese person? What is the crime of a Naga? What is the crime of Arunachal Pradesh? Why can’t they ride on a Metro when people of Karnataka and Delhi can? These questions, we need to answer,” he said.
Sarma said unless the country is able to revoke the internal disparity which is very prevalent, it will be difficult for the north-eastern states to attain the yardsticks of economic growth.
“The time has come where every citizen of India can access equitable share of development,” he said.
The minister said the under development was actually imposing a heavy cost on the maintenance of law and order and there were many other hidden costs.
More these states are developed, the more India will grow, he aid.
The three-day conclave was inaugurated yesterday with BJP National President Amit Shah delivering the key note address.