DC’s administrative powers entrusted to ADCs of four merged districts in Assam

Guwahati, Mar 29 (PTI) The Assam government on Wednesday said it has issued a notification entrusting all administrative and statutory powers of a deputy commissioner to the additional deputy commissioners in-charge of four districts which were merged with others on the day before the delimitation exercise began in the state on January 1.

The Assam cabinet had, in December last year, decided to merge four districts with the ones from which these were carved out and made separate districts.

The cabinet decision reduced the number of districts from 35 to 31 with Biswanath merged with Sonitpur, Hojai with Nagaon, Tamulpur with Baksa and Bajali with Barpeta.

An official release on Wednesday said that the notification, issued by the General Administration Department recently, stated that the deputy commissioners of these districts under which these sub-divisions (Biswanath, Hojai, Tamulpur and Bajali) fall will have the powers of overall supervision of government programmes, projects and schemes.

The deputy commissioners, however, will not interfere in the day-to-day functioning and work of these sub-divisions, the release said.

The delimitation exercise to redraw the boundaries of 14 parliamentary and 126 assembly constituencies is being conducted by the Election Commission of India.

Notably, the Congress had alleged that the state cabinet had a “mala fide intention” in merging the four districts with others.

“Almost all the opposition parties condemned the move and accused the ruling party of attempting to redraw Muslim majority seats in Assam to benefit itself and also to spark religious polarisation. In many localities, affected by this cabinet decision, widespread protests were held by blocking the national highway,’ state Congress president Bhupen Bora had said.

The ECI had banned the creation of new administrative units in Assam from January 1, 2023, since when the notification of the delimitation exercise came into force.

The full bench of the ECI was on a three-day visit to the state from March 26 to hold consultations with various stakeholders, including political parties and civil society, on the delimitation process.

The ECI on Tuesday said civil society organisations did not oppose Assam’s delimitation process, but several political parties have expressed reservations over issues like the exercise being done based on the 2001 census or not putting it off till 2026 when the next nationwide delimitation is due.