Interview with Shri Radhacharan Debbarma,
Chief Executive Member of State’s Autonomous District Council


People in the hilly areas are not happy in the changing circumstances


With the fall of the 25-year-old Left rule, the new government of BJP-IPF has come to power for almost ten months. But till now the state is yet to achieve normalcy in all spheres of public life in the state. According to the allegations of opposition political parties, lack of availability of work and food in the hill villages of the state is acute. BJP party promised to bring 'Aachhey Din' ( good day) in the state before assembly election 2018. But when it came to power the party seems to have forgotten it. The people of the hill areas of the state are not happy in the changing situation. Briefly describing his experiences in an interview with, on 17 January, 2019, Chief Executive Member of State Autonomous District Council, Mr. Radhhachran Debbarma has said that people living in the hill villages of the state are not at all happy with this new BJP-IPFT dispensation.


Question: What is the changing political situation of Tripura Autonomous District Council?


Answer: District council activities are going on just as the state’s administrative activities are going on;. What would I say? People in the ADC area can say how everything is. Go to the hill, talk to the people, you will understand everything.



Question: It's okay. We're asking for your feedback. As you are the ADC's administrative and political head?


Answer: In fact, if I tell you, you may not believe, that’s why I have said so. In fact, people are at the risk of economic, political and administrative disservice and deprivation. People cannot open their mouths as before. An uneasy lull and an ominous silence prevail all around. ADC does not have money in hand. The official work is almost closed. No respect or care for the elders as before in the villages. There is no social allowance. No MGNREGA works as earlier. How much will I say?


Question: How all these problems have arisen suddenly?


Answer: Ask this question to those who run the state. Many good things were said before sitting in power. Where is the election promise now? The Chief Minister just talks so many things. Asked for the ADC development issues or for funds, he will say good words. But the government does not clear ADC’s legitimate dues.


Question: How much money has been given to ADC by the new state government?


Answer: After the BJP-IPFT government came to power, ADC has been given very little money in the development sector. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the previous government had given Rs 304 crore to the ADC in the salary sector. And in that year development sector was given Rs 258 crores.

In the fiscal year 2016-2017, the state government had paid 338 crores to the ADC for employees salary and 583 crores for the development sector. In the financial year 2017-2018, the salary was 431 crore and 157 crore in the development sector. And the current BJP-IPFT alliance government has given the ADC 304 crore for the salary and wages till now, and the development sector has been given only Rs 117 crores. Only two months are left, until we receive any funds we cannot do anything due to lack of money.


Question: What is the state finance minister saying? Why the state government is not paying funds to ADC?


Answer: What will I say? Everyone is talking beautifully. If you ask for money, they will talk big and offer tea and sweets. The Chief Minister also says and does the same thing. No one will say ‘Debona’ ( Will not give).


Question: Is there any political reason behind this?


Answer: I would not say this even now. But I know it is not possible to bring ‘Achhey Din’ (Good Day) in the state avoiding ADC and without fulfilling the aspirations of the people of the Hills in Tripura.


Question: The 15th Finance Commission panel members are visiting the state. Did you talk to them?


Answer: Yes, I have spoken. I asked for 5508 crores of rupees. But who knows what the commission will give? Earlier, we wanted financial support from the 14th Finance Commission, but they sanctioned only Es 11.92 crore. Earlier, the thirteenth finance commission had given only Rs 29 crore to the ADC. Nobody talks and thinks about us. The amount of money received from the State Planning Fund goes to meet 94% of the employee’s salary. So we can not do anything if we do not get the money from finance commission or central schemes. However, the Finance Commission does not pay any money directly to the ADC's village committee. But the Panchayats of the state were given money from the finance commission earlier. I told the representatives of the Finance Commission to remove this discrimination. Let’s see what happens.


Question: How is the work of MGNREGA is going on at ADC areas?


Answer: Very bad. Previously on an average, we received 157-180 crore rupees per year. But this year we have received only Rs 43 crore under MGNREGA. Earlier, in the remote ADC villagers and the land Patta recipients under forest right act were given an average of 150 days of work per year. But this year, the people of interior areas like Damchhara and Chhawmanu, the most backward areas of the state, have not got more than 46 days work under MGNREGA this year


Question: But the Minister for Rural Development says that the work on MGNREGA did not reduce?


Answer: I am telling you the real and official information on the subject. He can tell only where he gave information from.


Question: There is no elected representative in ADC's many village committees. Many have resigned. Many others have stood away from them. When will the vacant seats of the Village Committee be voted?


Answer: Very few people have stood away out of their own volition. Altogeher 29 people elected VC members have died in different times. The rest of VC members who mostly belong to CPI(M) have been forced to resign after the BJP-IPFT government came to power. In the 4447 district committee seats, 976 vacancies are currently in place. The threat is still going on for resignation. We asked the Tribal Welfare Department to quickly select the vacant seats and hold election as soon as possible.


Question: After the new government of BJP-IPFT came to power, there was no change in quality in the hilly areas under ADC?


Answer: The development works had been completely closed for some time after the BJP-IPFT came to power. Some works were done thereafter. And the incidents of turmoil are increasing every day. The respect that older people had before from their children, is rarely seen nowadays. ‘Orchestra Culture’ has entered into every tribal market. Unrest among ethnic tribes is increasing . People think that there was no happy atmosphere like this before.


Question: What is the way out of the problems then?


Answer: Let them do the needful and let those who run the state effect a course correction. We're on the hills. We are ready to help them all. Otherwise the hill tribes will be deprived more. The way BJP is dividing Hindu-Muslim and IPFT is spreading Bengali-tribal division and hatred, the fruits are going to be fatal. So everyone has to be careful. Present voting politics may lead to serious consequences on everything.


Question: What do you think the state government should do to maintain peace and stability on the hills and ADC areas right now?


Answer: It is the state government that knows very well the course of action they have to undertake. I hope they will take effective steps to stop the undemocratic act without interference from the IPFT soon. Otherwise, it will not only harm the hills people,everyone will be caught in this fire. If the leadership of IPFT does not take control of their terrorist cadres, no one can say what the situation of the hill will be.