You had requested Union home minister Rajnath Singh to hand over the construction of border fencing along the India-Bangladesh border in Assam to Army as was done in the case of the border with Pakistan in J&K. What is the progress on this?
This proposal is under active consideration of the government of India. I myself have visited the border twice. Even MLAs have visited the border with Bangladesh. This shows the sincerity of our government. We are committed to complete sealing of Indo-Bangladesh border within a definite time frame. We are giving importance to creation of border infrastructure.
How would you respond to allegations that your government's eviction drive against illegal settlers is directed against a particular community?
Our mandate was to free forest land, fertile land from the clutches of illegal settlers. These lands were occupied by "suspect citizens". We will continue with the eviction drive.
Deletion, detection and deportation of illegal immigrants was among the BJP's major poll promises. How has the government fared?
Union home minister Rajnath Singh has agreed to give extension to 100 foreigners' tribunals functioning in Assam. The home ministry has also agreed to consider establishing separate detention centres to house the detenues declared by foreigners' tribunals as foreigners, pending their deportation. We are maintaining vigil and will ensure that illegal immigrants are detected and deported.
You came to power on the promise of delivering change. How far do you think change has set in Assam?
We have promised corruption-free Assam. Right from Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) to scam in social welfare department, we are bringing corrupt persons to book. Several persons are behind bars; we have even taken action against police officials for corrupt practices.
People's perception towards government has changed. The huge divide between the hill and valley, and between the two valleys of Brahmaputra and Barak has been mended. We have initiated a holistic development model for whole Assam and state budget is testimony to the fact that we are not discriminating against anyone.
A large number of projects and works have been initiated in health, education and industry sectors. Free admission of students, besides Atal Amrit Abhiyan, a unique health insurance scheme which gives coverage against five critical diseases, and seven lakh bank accounts for tea garden workers are some measures which we have initiated in one year.