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Tarun Gogoi, former Assam CM, Lashes out at UP's Adityanath for "Communalizing" COVID-19

Guwahati, May 6, 2020:

Congress veteran Tarun Gogoi on May 6 lashed out at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for “communalizing” the Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing media, Gogoi said that it is “unfortunate” that in this “difficult” period of time, leaders like Yogi Adityanath want to spread the ‘virus of hatred’ against the Muslims by citing the Tablighi Jamaat as a ‘super spreader’.
“In Assam also, Foreigners Tribunal Judges made a similar statement that their contribution extended to Asom Arogya Nidhi should not be spent for the treatment of Tablighi Jamaatis” Gogoi said, demanding the “immediate dismissal” of those judges.
Gogoi said that the “abrupt complete lockdown within a few hours without proper planning and policy has immensely cost the country economically”.
As a result of this, he said, lakhs of poor people such as dailywage earners, rickshaw pullers , handcart drivers, smalltime traders and businessmen, etc, have been “adversely affected.”
Gogoi said, “It is most unfortunate that we have not seen any concrete steps taken by the state Government for providing financial assistance to help those economically affected poor people. Even those who are stranded in different parts of the country, they were asked to bear the expenses by themselves to travel by train to their respective states. This issue was brought to the fore only after Sonia Gandhi raised the issue and instructed Congress units of various states to bear the expenses of their railway fares of their own states.”
“According to me, the whole expense should have been borne by the Government of India. as the Railway department had already extended Rs 151 crores to donation for the PM’s fund”, Tarun Gogoi added.
Gogoi said that before the spread of the pandemic in India, the economic condition of the country as well as states were deteriorating. Lakhs of lakhs jobs were shrinking in all spheres, he said.
Opining on the plight of stranded Assamese citizens, Tarun Gogoi claimed Assam does not seem “very keen” to bring back the stranded people.
“We are also receiving phone calls from many people requesting to shift them to Assam and provide monetary help. Government has not taken adequate steps to sell vegetables, milk produced by the small farmers and no steps have been taken to support handicraft section, weavers of Sualkuchi, etc. We raised those issues in all party meeting”, said Gogoi.
The former CM also said that the MPLAD fund should be continued as it indirectly provides livelihood to many poor people in the state. “Every poor jobless people should be given at least Rs 7,600 including 10 kilos of rice. MGNREGA schemes are not being implemented properly. Out of 27 crore MGNREGA Job card holders in India, only 12 crore are active. Out of these, only 93 lakh job card holders have been provided jobs, but the rest have not been given any jobs”, Gogoi charged.
“Coronavirus affected people have been provided required support, but the other patients especially Cancer patients, kidney patients, heart patients etc should be well taken care of and should not be ignored”, Gogoi added, further urging that a substantial amount of fund should be given to North East States Under Prime Minister’s Care Fund, and especially to Assam.
The Assam administration should conduct a detailed survey to make an assessment of losses incurred during total lockdown by different sectors in order to provide adequate financial support, Tarun Gogoi said.
Gogoi further said that an Economic Advisory Committee formed under the chairmanship of retired IAS officer Subhash Das  should plan long term and short term measures to combat the economic woes, he said, adding that the Rs. 5 VAT on Petrol and Diesel should be withdrawn immediately as it would affect all sections of society.
“Immediate steps should be taken to support and save the small-scale industries and an economic advisory committee should submit their report to the Government within a month”, Gogoi said.
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