Mahanta seeks central policy on Bangladeshi Hindus

Guwahati:  Former Assam Chief Minister and senior Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has urged the central government to formulate a policy for rehabilitation of the Bangladesh Hindus who are waiting to enter Assam due to unrest there. Mahanta said this here while addressing a press conference on Monday and added that about 1.7 crore Hindus residing in Bangladesh are living in fear due to recent attacks on them. He said they (the Hindus) will try to migrate to India at the earliest and their first choice is always Assam. "The order of the central government in New Delhi to allow minorities in those countries to live in India without documents will only hasten their arrival to India and if we go by history, their first choice is always Assam," said Mahanta. He added that he wants the NDA government to clearly formulate a policy for the rehabilitation of these people so that Assam is not made a victim again for short political gains by any political party. He also said that Assam is already over-populated and the central government must formulate a clear policy to settle and rehabilitate these people from the other side of the border elsewhere in India, excluding Assam. Mahanta also took up the issue of central government's decision to auction 12 small oil fields in Assam to private parties and said that when the oil prices are falling globally, it is bad business to sell our own oil reserves to multinationals at this time as the state will not get right price for the state's natural resources. "If at all the government of India is keen on getting rid of these oil fields at whatever price they get, they should be handed over to Assam government which has enough expertise and infrastructure to get oil from these wells," he said. Mahanta also slammed the central government's recent decision to set up the proposed All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) at Baihata Chariali in Kamrup district instead of Raha in Nagaon district.  "We have confirmed reports that the central team had already approved Raha for setting up of the AIIMS. However, the venue of the proposed AIIMS was shifted to Baihata Chariali and the state government had already allocated land for the purpose in Baihata Chariali," he said, seeking the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the matter.