Assam CM Himanta Sarma chairs first Cabinet meet, announces new measures to tackle COVID surge

The newly formed Assam cabinet headed by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma held its first meeting on Tuesday.

“The new Cabinet held its first meeting on May 11, 2021 and resolved to fulfill the promises made to our people. We have taken our first steps in this journey with the following decisions,” the chief minister tweeted.

To contain COVID cases in the state, more restrictions and containment measures would be put in place from May 13, 2021. The detailed Standard operating procedure (SoP) will be issued on Wednesday. In case restrictions have to continue for more than a fortnight, the government will consider a financial relief package for weaker sections, Sarma said.

Moreover, the cabinet decided to ease the burden of loans from micro finance institutions. A committee has been constituted to examine various aspects and make recommendations within one month.

The cabinet also approved increasing the stake of Government of Assam in Numaligarh Refinery Limited from the present 12.35 percent to 26 per cent, involving a sum of Rs 2,187 crore. “This is the biggest single investment in the industrial sector ever by the state government,” Sarma said.

Interacting with the mediapersons, Pijush Hazarika, the Water Resources and Parliamentary Affairs Minister said, “Today is our first cabinet under the leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. It has been decided that our cabinet will be held on every Wednesday from 11 am to 1 pm on a regular basis. The Chief Minister has announced two names as spokespersons of the cabinet, one is mine and another is Health Minister Keshav Mahato.”

Hazarika said the cabinet has formed a committee under Finance Minister to give employment to one lakh educated unemployed youths of the state.

On COVID pandemic and lockdown, the minister said, “We have thoroughly discussed the COVID situation in the state. The decisions will be announced on Wednesday. Decisions on lockdown are yet to be taken. But yes, strict restrictions will be implemented. We will also discuss an economic package related to COVID if required in the next cabinet.”

Sarma was sworn in as the 15th Chief Minister of Assam on Monday.

BJP-led NDA secured a comfortable majority in Assam winning 75 seats of the total 126 constituencies. While BJP secured 60 seats, about 33 per cent, its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party, Liberal (UPPL) bagged nine and six seats respectively.

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