Despite the NDA government's largesse in the union budget towards the North East and Assam in particular, the Congress government in the state appears ''uninterested'' in availing the benefits, Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal said here on Saturday.
''Rs 63,000 crore has been earmarked in the budget for 2014-15 for North East and with Assam being the largest state, it was expected to get a lion share of over Rs 20,000 crore'', Sonowal told reporters. The Tarun Gogoi-led Assam government ''should have gone on an overdrive following the budget announcement with each department coming out with various schemes to avail the maximum benefit'', he said. ''The Chief Minister should have motivated the officials to work day and night to ensure optimum utilisation of the funds for the maximum development of the state but it appears that the state government is just not interested'', Sonowal added.
The Centre has taken ''a very positive and strong initiative'' by earmarking such a huge amount for the North East and now it is ''upto the state governments to submit proposals and schemes and bring the money for developmental works'', the Union Minister said. ''If the state government wants, it can get more funds provided they are able to come with development schemes but they must be able to utilise the funds by the end of the financial year in March 2015'', he said. Assam government has reportedly not submitted utilisation certificates of over Rs 10,000 crore to the Centre for the past two terms of the Congress-led UPA government, Sonowal claimed.