In a first, Himanta Biswa Sarma cabinet meets outside Guwahati at Dhemaji
Guwahati: The Assam cabinet on Thursday met at Dhemaji, nearly 450 km east from the state capital Dispur.
This is the first time the government headed by Himanta Biswa Sarma is holding a cabinet meeting outside Guwahati. In 2016, the then government headed by Sarbananda Sonowal has organised a cabinet meeting in Majuli.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the tradition would continue. The next cabinet meeting will be held at Bongaigaon in November followed by another at Halflong in December.
“This is not just a one-day thing. We reached here a day ahead of the meeting and covered one district. We spent Thursday at Dhemaji and while going back on Friday we will visit another district where they would inspect different projects and interact with different sections of the people,” said the CM.
Sarma informed that as per a meeting with employees of the two closed paper mills of Hindustan Paper Mills, the state government would provide them with a ₹570 crore relief package. The cabinet approved the decision and agreed to spend another ₹130 crore to clear all pending dues of the mills with government agencies.
“The employees will get a relief package of ₹570 crore. The rest of the amount will go in clearing other dues. In all ₹700 crore would be given to the liquidator. Once that is done, the 4700 ‘bighas’ of land of the two mills will belong to the state government, which in turn will be converted to industrial estates,” Sarma said.
The CM announced that the cabinet approved a sum of ₹1800 crore as waiving off of microfinance loans of nearly 1.1 million women borrowers. The state government has earlier signed MoUs with microfinance companies to waive off these loans.
The cabinet also made several announcements for Dhemaji district including ₹50 crore to make the deputy commissioner’s office an integrated unit comprising other departments and another ₹50 crore to set up a sports complex,” he said.
The holding of the cabinet meeting with much fanfare had invited criticism from some quarters including from one ruling BJP MLA, but Sarma said that it was needed since Assam no longer wants to project the image of a poor state.