Assam's new Chief Minister Himant Biswa Sarma on Monday appealed to the outlawed terror outfits to shun the path of violence and come to the negotiation table and also said that his government's first task would be to curb the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.Minutes after assuming office as the 15th Chief Minister of Assam, Sarma said that an effective roadmap would be finalised in the first cabinet meeting on Tuesday to curb the "alarming rise of the coronavirus in the state".A former Health, Finance, PWD and Education Minister in the Sarbananda Sonowal led government, Sarma, terming the Covid situation in Assam as "alarming", said that everyday 5,000 new positive cases are being reported in the state."You would now find a very pro-active government in the state. If Assam controlled the Covid pandemic it would help the other northeastern states to curb the spread of the disease," the new Chief Minister told the media.He said that all the election promises of the Bharatiya Janata Party including control of floods, creation of one lakh jobs for the unemployed youths, micro-finance problems, empowering the women under the state's flagship scheme "Orunodoi" would be fulfilled.To a question, the Chief Minister said that at the moment there are Rs 7,000 crore in our treasury and claimed "we have the best fiscal situation in the country and there is no cause of concern about the monetary position of Assam". The BJP's 'Sankalp Patra' released before the three-phase Assam assembly elections also promised the "perfect NRC (National Register of Citizens)" in Assam.The Chief Minister said that to correct the NRC, the state government would undertake 20 per cent scrutiny in the bordering areas and 10 per cent inside Assam."If we found that there are huge lapses, we would urge the court to take a fresh look at the NRC," he said.
The draft of the NRC, monitored by the Supreme Court, was published in August 2019, excluding 19.06 lakh people out of the 3.3 crore applicants.Urging the ULFA-I (United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent) led by self-styled commander-in-chief Paresh Barua and other militant groups to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream, the Chief Minister said that through negotiations and talks all problems are expected to be solved."Killings and abduction turned the situation more complicated," he said.Sarma added that the aim of his government is to make Assam one of the top five states in India in the next five years.The ULFA-I on April 21 had kidnapped three engineers of the state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation from a drilling site at Lakwa in eastern Assam's Sibsagar district.The Army, along with Assam Rifles troopers rescued two hostages from the captivity of the militants following a fierce encounter on April 23 night, but another still remained missing.The anti-talk outlawed ULFA-I had recently released radio operator Ram Kumar, a resident of Bihar, and drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi of Sivasagar district, after more than 100 days after the two employees of Delhi-based private oil and gas exploration company Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Ltd were abducted from Arunachal Pradesh on December 21 last year.The Assam Chief Minister said that peace has been established in western Assam's Bodoland areas following the historic agreement with the Bodo outfits."To solve the problems of the indigenous people and tribals, discussions will be held in depth," he added.Sarma, 52, on Monday took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of Assam along with 13 members of his cabinet after he was unanimously elected leader by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Legislature Party, which met in Guwahati on Sunday.The BJP led "Mitrajot" returned to power in Assam in the March-April assembly elections. In the 126-member Assembly, the BJP won 60 seats while its alliance partners Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) got nine seats and the United People Party Liberal (UPPL) six.