Guwahati: Assam Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma addresses a press conference announcing complete lockdown for 14-days starting from June 28, due to surge in COVID-19 cases, in Guwahati, Friday, June 26, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI26-06-2020_000072B) (PTI)
Guwahati: Assam Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma addresses a press conference announcing complete lockdown for 14-days starting from June 28, due to surge in COVID-19 cases, in Guwahati, Friday, June 26, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI26-06-2020_000072B) (PTI)

Adopt ‘decent family planning policy’: Assam CM to minority community

Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “You cannot reduce poverty unless you control your population. I hope the community will respect the government’s stand on this and work towards this”
PUBLISHED ON JUN 10, 2021 04:26 PM IST

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday urged the minority Muslim community in the state to adopt a “decent family planning” policy to bring down poverty and control social problems.

“We want to work with the minority Muslim community to control population. The root cause of issues such as poverty, land encroachment etc., lies in uncontrolled population growth. I think we can put an end to a lot of social problems in Assam if the Muslim community adopts decent family planning norms,” the CM said in Guwahati.

Addressing a press conference to mark completion of first month of his government at the state administrative staff college, Sarma appealed to organisations such as All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) and Opposition party All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to focus on population control initiatives in the Muslim community.

“Assam government is going to take a few more steps which should encourage population control. I want to work with AAMSU and AIUDF on this,” he said

“We want community support to spread education among Muslim women. You cannot reduce poverty unless you control your population. I hope the community will respect the government’s stand on this and work towards this,” he added.

In 2017, the Assam assembly had passed a population and women empowerment policy which prevented people with more than two children from securing government jobs. It also prevented them from contesting panchayat and municipal elections. However, that policy is yet to be implemented.

Since coming to power, the state government has started a campaign to remove encroachments from government land and also from religious sites. Anti-encroachment drives in different places have uprooted thousands of settlers from Sipajhar, Sootea, Hojai and Karimganj.

“All this encroachment is happening due to an increase in population. If that trend continues, it will lead to paucity of living space and will result on conflict. Some are saying that such eviction drives shouldn’t happen. But we can’t allow people to illegally settle on forest land or land belonging to temples,” said Sarma.

Terming Illegal smuggling of cattle as a big problem, the CM said a new law would be passed in the next assembly session on it. He pointed out that since the existing laws in the state don’t consider transit of cattle as illegal and cattle from other states are transported through Assam and smuggled to Bangladesh through the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya, the new legislation was needed.

“In July, in the next assembly session, we will pass a law making transit of cattle through the state as illegal. With this new legislation, Assam will have to power to fight this menace. In the interim, we have stopped transit of cattle through an executive order. Since coming to power, we have been able to almost end this illegal trade,” he said.

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