Development certainly took place in Jorhat assembly constituency in Upper Assam. But, development of road transport infrastructure or water supply can be of any help only if the identity of people is protected. The intellectually sensitive Jorhat constituency will not be carried away by emotions and wave this time. Jorhat prepares will assess the candidates and not their party affiliation when they will exercise their franchise in the Assam assembly elections on March 27.
“All I want to appeal to the voters this time is vote for the candidate and not the party,” said Puna Bora standing on the dilapidated Patia Phakala Gaon Panchayat road. An amount of Rs 2.2 lakh was sanctioned way back in 2016-17 fiscal, but the road is today barricaded restricting movement of vehicles or tractors.
“Nothing was done after foundation laying programme of this road. Today, we are restricting vehicular movement on it because it would further dilapidate if we allow tractors to ply on it. We are hardly using it for communication with the rest of the world … During rainy season, we manage to walk on it only stepping over few bricks we lay on it,” Bora elaborated.
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Similar was the fate of the Jorhat Kalyani Cultural Complex for which foundation laid by then MLA Rana Goswami way back in 2006. It remained only the foundation till date.
Local MLA and Assam assembly speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami himself laid the foundation of yet another road in the same village last year. The road was supposed to be built with paver blocks at a cost of Rs 12.92 lakh under 14th Finance Commission grant. Work started on the road, but it remained incomplete because “some people filed RTI application for details about its progress”.
According to villagers the quality of the road construction was going on too poor, courtesy poor representation of the villagers in the construction committee. “Only the village panchayat president was in the committee and the rest were outsiders. So, he was not heard at all,” said local resident Ranjan Bora.
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“We applied under RTI Act to know details about the construction progress. But, that does not mean the construction work should be stopped … The BJP government said it was zero tolerant against corruption. But, their leaders have taught us they are zero tolerant against no-corruption,” said Bora.
Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad Jorhat unit general secretary Babu Dutta however, admitted to have seen some progress in the constituency. But, MLA Goswami’s party affiliation was little unacceptable for his voters.
“We can see some roads were developed in the urban localities. Hitendra Nath Goswami also took the initiative for water supply. We cannot say there was no development at all under his initiative. But, he represents a party that has endangered the very identity of the community.
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“If the identity is under threat because of the black law called Citizenship Amendment Act, what will we do with development or progress? We cannot afford to faceless at the cost of development,” Dutta said.
To go by the views of the voters, it will be the candidates’ faces and not political parties that will count in the battle between two Goswamis (Hitendra Nath and Rana) on March 27.