Recently the CBI recovered several crores of public money meant for the welfare of the North Cachar Hills district, from the residence of Redaul Hussain Khan’s kin in Guwahati, Mr Khan a simple officer i.e. Child Development Project Officer-turned-influential one, having hands with the high ups in the present Dispur Ministry as well as the concerned State level officers since his joining the NC Hills’ District Social Welfare Office as CDPO, who even gained all safety and patronage in the district level too, from the concerned Chief Executive Members and Executive Members of the then NC Hills Autonomous Councils, - that virtually strikes a chord the most probably beginning of the corruption in NC Hills district, the so called 60:40 ratio misappropriation of the Govt money between officers and the contractors, that took place early in 1992 in the office of Maibang PWD Division and other departments, contemporarily with mass timber smuggling and playing trick in paying royalty to the council in the Forest department. Since then, some unscrupulous officers and businessmen of the district, with the help of some council’s elected representatives, have been making private properties collecting illegally the public money meant for poor tribal people of the district.
However believe or not, regarding NC Hills’ most degradable and discouraging episode on one hand, and misery scene of exploiting towards the poor tribal communities depriving economically on the other; some spiritually conscious people desperately say that, any one thieving and abusing public money meant for helpless and the poor people of backward district like North Cachar Hills, will certainly face with suffering and misery in the long run, when thoughtful elders of the society have experienced of the similar instances before, though in true sense, progress of the district have been decades long back due to long drawn corruptions taking place in our district. Now, the big question (?) before the people of NC Hills is how to fill up the long gap of all round development in the district. Needless to say that, Social Welfare department includes the schemes for helpless and the poor people like old age pension, financial support for handicap, widow, and others those who are living only in the blessings of divinity, for which, crores of money sanctioned by the Central Government – have been drawn off and pocketed by the officer R H Khan with the help of unscrupulous State and district level bureaucrats and hypocrite political leaders having important ministerial berth in Dispur Government. Reason behind the people of NC Hills react in different way following the recovery of crores of money, which created hue and cry in the state level politics thereby various political and non political organizations started war of word and mud sliding each other over the issue – is that the situation turned the Dispur capital a centre of siphoning the Govt money of the hills district, though it reached district head quarter Haflong and took halt a few days which returned to the capital keeping local people in dark, for its purpose of making.
Interestingly after 1996, major political parties in NC Hills, as observed by the conscious citizens of the district, all the times come to power criticizing the ruling parties during election campaign for giving protection and patronage the officer R S Khan, involved in siphoning the public money in social welfare department, when the parties as soon as after coming in power, virtually reach in understanding with Khan for their narrow business, which, in fact, become a talk of the district. Even the concerned Governor of Assam in his tenure favored to felicitate the officer R S Khan in the public meeting of Model village inauguration at Gunjung’s Wari village, as one of the best officer in the district which has now become one of the worst and hypocrite employees in the State and district level. Of course, the officer could manage some active forces in NC Hills that has mostly encouraged him to continue his activities. Moreover, attitude of the Dispur Ministry and State level officers towards the people of hills districts – was taken advantage by the cunning officer. At present, practice of taking percentage of the total released Govt money for hills districts by the concerned officers and representatives of the State Government, which is turned into tradition – was the main opportunity of Mr Khan for siphoning of public money. Hence, if the same practice continues, numbers of R S Khan are expected to born in the two hills district.Before the year 2000, Mr Khan even could manage to have stay order of his transfer from the district, which was done after much allegation leveled against the officer for his misappropriation of fund. It’s quite mentionable that, R S Khan had joined the NC Hills District Social Welfare as CDPO in 1995. Later he became an influential officer and even was appointed as OSD to the then CEM, NC Hills Autonomous Council. It was said that, he had hands with high ups in Dispur Ministry, who could manage all important bureaucrats with kickback and get release the entire fund for NC Hills including Autonomous Council and others, though it was like “Macher tele mach bhaja” or all cost not from his own. Authority and top officer of the then NC Hills Autonomous Council had entrusted R H Khan to deal with fund release of all departments of the district from Dispur, who took 30 percent out of total released money from each department. Simply, important Ministers and officers are easily managed in the hands of CDPO R S Khan. Weakness of NC Hills’ leaders in communicating with Dispur, has compelled to depend on R H Khan while releasing the fund from the State Govt. Similarly, it truly witnessed the weakness of some Dispur minister and bureaucrats in taking carrot from the officer now in CBI custody.
However, it opens the eyes of the people and political parties that, situation of Karbi Anglong and other concerned districts of the State regarding anomalous of public money could be no difference with North Cachar Hills, since major political party of Karbi Anglong has also demanded CBI enquiry to investigate misappropriation of K/Anglong Autonomous Council. Besides, in this episode the Pandora’s Box is reportedly expected to release numbers of ministers’ list involved in the case of recovery of 13 crore of Govt money in Guwahati, witnessing the some ministers and officers of Dispur ruling clique utilize two hills councils as their exchequer, depriving poor tribal community living in North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong district.
It observed that, elected representatives feeling future insecurity for their personal pecuniary – may encourage the corruption activities in the district. Furthermore, willingness of simple leaders to live a comfort and luxury life – may let them forget their objectives to serve the poor people, which can divert the minds and certainly concentrate on making money and individual property. Therefore, only changing the attitude of the public leaders and local officers may tackle the present corruption activities when thinking about its frightening repercussion, which may certainly lead to uncertainty threatening security to the lives and property in the district, misleading the desperate youth community in the society, giving chance a section of opportunist people coming from outside the district in various form like Govt employee, businessman, political leader, etc. to mislead the local people in a group or individual for their narrow business. Besides, conscious citizens should warily scan the individuals interested to join the social and political field that dither not to protest the anti-social activity after coming in power.
Surjya Thaosen, Haflong