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Sonowal reiterates 'zero tolerance' vow

By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Aug 16: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spelt the ‘zero tolerance’ mantra of his government against graft again while addressing the people on the country’s 71st Independence Day on Tuesday.
The State government centrally celebrated the 71st I-Day at Veterinary College Field at Khanapara in Guwahati. Despite the pall cast by floods twice in July-August, people of the State including students, defied all odds to celebrate Independence Day on Tuesday. The deafening silence and empty roads and public places witnessed in the State every 15th August in recent past was not seen in this year’s Independence Day.   
“After coming to power, we have adopted a policy of zero-tolerance towards graft. After our government took charge, probes have been ordered against various cases of corruption so that it can be rooted out from government machinery and thereby fulfill people’s hopes and aspirations. In this campaign, the government has been able to take some bold steps against corrupt practices prevalent in some departments and bodies, including the APSC,” Sonowal said, adding: “Corruption has been minimized in the state. As per a survey report of the ‘Centre for Media Studies’, the incidence of corruption in the State was 34 per cent in 2005 which has been brought down to 18 per cent in 2017. On this auspicious occasion, I would like to assure the people of the State that our government will never tolerate corruption at any stage”.
Sonowal said that due to pro-active efforts of the State government, tripartite talks were held in New Delhi in April this year, after a long hiatus of 7 years, to discuss issues relating to the implementation of Assam Accord in letter and spirit within a stipulated timeframe. Talks were held in presence of top Central and State government officials and AASU leaders, he said. “In this meeting, threadbare discussion was held on issues like infiltration of foreigners, implementation of Clause 6 and 7 of Assam Accord, complete sealing of Indo-Bangla border and NRC update. On the same day, discussion with a number of ethnic student bodies was also held by the Central government,” he added.
Sonowal said that the State government is extending all possible cooperation in the process of NRC update being carried out under the Supreme Court’s supervision. “We believe NRC update will bring about a permanent solution to the problem of illegal influx of foreigners to the State. Moreover, the Foreigners Tribunals are detecting infiltrators in the State expeditiously. The Centre is also laying stress on complete sealing of Indo-Bangla border. We hope that this border will be sealed completely very soon,” he said.
On floods claiming many lives in the State, besides causing widespread damage to property, Sonowal said: “I assure the people of Assam that our hovernment has taken every possible step to deal with the flood situation promptly and ensured expeditious rescue and relief operations. Steps have been taken to ensure that relief materials reach flood-hit people on time. Ex-gratia payments are also being made expeditiously to the next of kin of those who have perished in the floods. The State government is also committed to take up restoration and rehabilitation works in time-bound manner soon.”