GUWAHATI: The Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia on Tuesday demanding a high-level inquiry into the mass suicide of five members of a debt-ridden family asked the state government to announce a special financial package to assist the families which have been adversely affected by the series of Corona-related lockdowns.
In a tragedy, five members of a single-family hung themselves on Monday at Tulsibeel under Gossaigaon police station in Kokrajhar district. Financial problems allegedly drove a man, his wife and three daughters to die by suicide.
Saikia asked Sonowal to bring in a law to rein in certain microfinance institutions (MFIs) which have been luring simple folk into a debt trap by giving loans on simple criteria and then charging compound interest from the debtors.
The Leader of the Opposition further demanded that details of the funds collected from the public by the state government in the name of combating the Corona pandemic should also be made public and that the funds should be used for providing financial aid to needy families.
Saikia stated, “First the Narendra Modi government crippled the unorganized economy of the country through demonetization and then the Central and state governments virtually devastated small businesses and daily wage earners via unplanned lockdowns. Those who committed suicide due to poverty yesterday are actually the victims of the abject failure of the Modi and Sonowal governments.”
The Congress leader castigated Sonowal and state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, saying that with an eye on the ensuing Assembly elections they are announcing sops like gold, money to open bank accounts and the like, but the government has left those who have been ruined by the lockdowns, or those who have lost their jobs due to the Corona pandemic, to face their own fate.
“This type of policy has exposed the opportunistic and cynical mentality of these leaders,” he said.