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Assam: Gogoi to quit Unified Command post

K Anurag in Guwahati | January 04, 2009 20:40 IST

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday said he will step down as the chairman of the counter-insurgency Unified Command in order to concentrate on development activities. The chief secretary will take over the responsibility.

"I want to focus more on development work as it is the development that will ultimately neutralise insurgency. Had there been no insurgency, the state could have afforded to pump more money into development and welfare schemes," he said.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram [Images] during his visit to the state on January 2, a day after serial blasts rocked Guwahati for second time in two months, had asked Gogoi to focus on ushering in development and leave the responsibility of tacking insurgency to the security forces operating under the Unified Command structure.

Gogoi, however, claimed he had on an earlier occasion volunteered to give up his responsibility of the Unified Command, but the prime minister had asked him to continue.

When the Asom Gana Parishad was in power, it was the chief secretary who used to chair the Unified Command, which was formed in 1997 and comprised the army, police and paramilitary forces. When the Congress came to power in 2001, Gogoi took over the chairmanship.

Gogoi also reiterated that the government was against extending the truce with the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland in view of the involvement of a section of the cadres of the outfit in October 30 serial blasts though the final decision in this regard lies with the central government.

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