Assam has incurred a loss of over Rs 1,028 crore due to 17 statewide bandhs in 2017, Commerce and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told the Assembly Monday. The figure will go up further as it does not include strikes called at local and district levels, he said. In a written reply to a query by BJP MLA Mrinal Saikia, Patowary said Assam suffered a loss of Rs 1,028.50 crore of State Domestic Product (SDP) due to 17 bandhs last year.
A total of 184 blockades took place on National Highways as part of agitation programmes by different groups across the state, Patowary told the House on behalf of the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who holds the Home portfolio.
“In 2017, various organisations called for 18 local bandhs, 42 district bandhs, 17 Assam bandhs and four Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) bandhs,” he added. As per the Supreme Court ruling, any such bandh is illegal and the state government is taking steps in that direction, the minister said.
In a PIL filed in the Gauhati High Court in 2012, the state government had said that it was contemplating a law to prohibit bandhs in state. Accordingly, ‘The Assam Prohibition and Prevention of Bandh Bill, 2017’ was drafted and it is currently under “active consideration” of the state government, Patowary added.