Guwahati: Assam government has mulled a ‘population army’ to spread awareness especially in the Muslim dominated areas where according to the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has seen a population explosion.
Sarma said that a team of around 1000 youngsters will be sent to various areas including the char areas, sandbars, to distribute contraceptives and to talk about the benefits of a small family.
The CM said, “This group of people will be known as population army especially from the char chapori (riverine sand bars) will be engaged to create awareness about population control measures and to distribute contraceptives.”
He added that the health department was also planning to create a separate work force of ASHA (accredited social health activists) workers who will be given the responsibility of creating awareness about birth control in women in rural areas of the state.
Sarma informed the state assembly that population growth among Hindus in Assam was 10 per cent from 2001 to 2011 whereas it was 29 per cent among Muslims.
Muslims account for 34.22% of Assam’s total population of 3.12 crore, according to the 2011 Census.
Advocating the population policy, Sarma on Monday called for delinking the population control issue from politics and adopting a realistic solution with emphasis on education, health, ending child marriage and financial inclusion to solve the problem among the Muslims of the state.
He said that the state government’s population policy was aimed at eradicating poverty from the society.
The population policy attracted major criticism from many corners as many believed that it targeted the Muslim community in the state.