In February 2015, as AFGB Chairman, I went to New Delhi, and accompanied by AFGB member Mr. Chiranjit Sonowal, met Mr. Ajit Kumar Doval, 5th National Security Adviser to the Government of India, Ms. Uma Bharti, Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Development of North East Region (Independent Charge), Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Development of Atomic Energy, and Department of Space, Government of India, and Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports.
We met Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal on 13th February, discussed some problems of Assam, and handed in a copy of the Memorandum. Mr. Sonowal was very kind and his aides were very helpful. They contacted the PM Office for a slot to meet the PM. Mr. Modi was very busy, and it is unfortunate for us that the President of Sri Lanka arrived at New Delhi for a 4-day visit at that time. However, we were lucky to meet Dr. Jitendra Singh on 16th February afternoon, and after a brief discussion we handed in a copy of the Memorandum, as it contains issues dealing with the North East. On the same day, at 9.30pm, we were called to see Ms. Uma Bharti at her residence. Ms. Bharti is an amiable person and she is taking a keen interest in the flood problems of Assam. We met her briefly, and handed in a copy of the Memorandum to her. She is so efficient that she asked us to have a detailed discussion with the Additional Secretary of the Water Resources Ministry, Dr. Amarjit Singh, and immediately issued a verbal order that an appointment be fixed for the next day. Accordingly, it was done; and we went to see Dr. Singh on17th February and had a wonderful discussion about Assam’s flood problems. I spoke about 20 minutes and then Dr. Singh gave us a small presentation for about 15 minutes regarding the plans they have in order to tackle the long-run flood problems caused by the Brahmaputra.
We were still expecting to see Mr. Modi on Wednesday 18th February; but our hopes were dashed when we came to know that Mr. Modi flew to Bengaluru for the national air show. While we were a bit upset, the news came from the PM Office that Mr. Ajit Doval will accept our Memorandum to the PM. We went to the PM office at lunch time, but we were taken to another office nearby to see Mr. Doval who is a quick thinking person. We were at his office for about half an hour, and Mr. Doval took a keen interest on what we had to say. He said that he had been asked to accept the Memorandum, and that he would go through the content of the Memorandum with the PM. We raised several issues with him, including corruption, the problems of terrorism in Assam, and peace negotiations with ULFA.
Our experience has proved that such representations do make direct contributions to the decision making process. We feel very encouraged by the whole experience. We have now got some contacts to push for solutions to the problems of Assam.
Dr. Jitendralal Borkakoti, PhD (LSE)
We discuss the economic, social, political and cultural issues of Assam and submit suggested solutions and raise awareness among the Assamese community and the wider population of the UK of the ongoing concerns in Assam. We hold an annual conference on the burning issues of Assam, and also to organise seminars on urgent issues. We invite expert opinions on specific topics of Assam and facilitate the global Assamese diaspora to have a united voice on specific issues.