GUWAHATI: The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) in Assam has slammed Rajesh Prasad, the newly-appointed administrator of autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), for allegedly launching "decoration" work at the BTC Secretariat in Kokrajhar and not caring for people who were suffering in the COVID-19 lockdown.
The BPF, which ruled the BTC until Governor’s rule was imposed last month as the council’s term expired without an election being held due to COVID-19 pandemic, said the first thing that Prasad did after taking over was to launch the decoration work.
“While the issue of imposition of Governor's rule in the BTC is still in the court, Assam Principal Secretary Rajesh Prasad, who has been appointed as administrator, has already started decorative construction work at the BTC Secretariat. The move by the officials of the State Government to spend crores of rupees on decorating their offices and homes comes at a time when our people are suffering immensely due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the BPF tweeted.
The party, which is led by former rebel leader Hagrama Mohilary, said when the officials were expected to focus more on the problems being faced by people who were not even getting their ration, they were more concerned about their own facilities.
“As if the decorations of their offices were not enough, the Principal Secretary has also demanded bullet-proof cars,” the BPF said, adding “Injustice is being done. They are trying to keep us away from our people by adopting the wrong methods. We strongly condemn it.”
Prasad rubbished the charges. He said a “malicious campaign” was launched against him.
“I haven’t done a single renovation in my office. I am sitting in the same environment. As far as the house is concerned, it was not occupied and livable. The whole area was forested and there were a lot of snakes. As I have to come (to Kokrajhar) time and again, and it is very difficult to stay in the Circuit House, the jungle was cleared and earth filling was done. It was done as the area is low and the rainy season is approaching,” the IAS officer told The New Indian Express.
He also trashed the charge on the bullet-proof car.
“It was allotted to the BTC chief and its deputy. It is a more than 10-year-old car which was lying idle in the garage. It was taken out to check if it is working. The door lock that was found broken was repaired. I used it for just one day. I am moving around in another car and this may be verified,” Prasad said.
He added that he would leave the house if the court orders for the election tomorrow.
The BTC was created in 2003 under the Sixth Schedule of Constitution where the Governor is the Constitutional head. The BPF had sought six months’ extension of the Council’s term but it was not entertained. After the Governor’s rule was imposed, the BPF had moved the Gauhati High Court challenging it.