Impact of our action plans will be visible for next 25-30 yrs: Hemant Soren

Ranchi (IANS) Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has said that the impact of the action plans initiated by his government in the fields of education, health, employment and industries, among others, will be visible in the state for the next 25-30 years.

In a conversation with IANS, Soren discussed an array of issues, including the challenges in the coming years, action plans, charges and allegations of the Opposition, differences with the Central government, relation with the alliance partners, etc.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Q: Your government will turn two on December 29. What’s your assessment of the last two years of governance?

A: We have completed two years in office amid great difficulties mainly posed by the global pandemic of Covid-19. These two years were spent in dealing with the pandemic and providing relief to all sections of the society.

Everyone knows that we were not confined to indoors during the pandemic. The entire nation is aware of the programmes and plans we came up with to provide help and assistance to the migrant labourers, people below the poverty line and Dalits. Our work model has drawn the attention of the entire country. The most notable part is the impact of the plans we had created for education, health, industries, environment, tourism and other sectors which would be visible in the state for the next 25-30 years.

Q: The state’s principal opposition BJP has said that the government’s last two years were an unsuccessful outing. Your comments on that…

A: What can I say about the BJP? It has many faces and masks. Jharkhand came into existence more than 20 years ago. And out of these 20 years, the BJP was in power for more than 15 years. Despite that, our state is identified with poverty and backwardness. Corruption continued in the government offices… officials remained incompetent.

But our government has changed everything. We have taken the government out of the state and district headquarters and block offices to the villages and door steps of the people. Last month, we conducted the ‘Aapke Dwar Aapke Adhikar Aapki Sarkar’ campaign. Since morning till mid-night, the ministers, officials and public representatives camped on the ground. We had received 30-35 lakh complaints and requests. Out of them, 20-25 lakh requests were addressed and taken care of on the spot. The remaining pleas were also addressed.

Q: In the recently-concluded Winter Session of the Assembly, your government passed the anti-bob lynching bill. The BJP has claimed that the bill was passed to please a certain section of people…

A: I don’t understand the opposition against the law on mob lynching. The Supreme Court has directed all the states to come up with such a law. You can ask the BJP leaders if this law is against Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Adivasis or any particular community? This law is against mob lynching. Religion has no dimension here. This is BJP’s style of politics. Their leaders deliberately create such controversies.

The BJP has ‘sleeper’ cells as well. On certain occasions, when the party is unable to directly voice its opposition, the ‘sleeper’ cells play their part to provoke the people. The BJP is like Ravana… it has many heads and hands.

Q: Your government had termed 2021 as the Year of Appointment. To what extent all the big announcements on appointments have made its way to the ground level?

A: I cannot even understand why a controversy is taking shape over the appointment drive. The previous BJP government did not even make a manual for the appointments. We have prepared a manual for the first time for all the departments. For the first time in the state, sportspersons were directly appointed. Hundreds of people have been given appointment letters in all the programmes that I attended in the last 3-4 months.

We have even made rules to provide employment to local residents in the private companies. In those firms, it has been made mandatory to provide appointment to the people of Jharkhand in 75 per cent of the positions. Besides, we have also decided to establish the Technical Skill University and Tribal University. Through them, the youth are being readied for employment. Appointments will continue at a rapid pace in the coming year as well.

Q: There has been a controversy over the Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) examinations. Your government was accused of being silent on the issue…

A: The JPSC is an autonomous body. It is fully capable of taking its own decisions. We gave it an appointment manual and asked it to speed up the process. For the first time, candidates of SC, ST and OBC communities were successful, which caused ‘pain’ to the Opposition. In the first and second JPSC exams held during the BJP’s tenure, there were such large scale irregularities that a CBI probe into them is underway. Years have passed and some of the officials are still holding onto their posts. I have no idea where the probe is stuck.

Q: There has been some talks of your alliance partner Congress being upset with you. Is everything well between the JMM and the Congress?

A: All these talks are baseless. I have no information on any such talks. We are running the government in a seamless manner. If any issue comes up, we sit down, discuss and find ways to resolve them.

Q: Why do you have differences with the Central government over some issues?

A: There are several issues between the Central and the state government. We voice our opposition whenever we feel the Centre is twisting our hands. The relation, however, keeps on moving amid all the highs and lows.

Q: What is in your view the biggest achievement of your government in the past two years? And on a personal note, what pleases you the most?

A: The biggest achievement is that we have eliminated the feeling of fear that had earlier existed from the state. And the most satisfactory part is we are reaching out to the last person in the state.

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