Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that central government funds for various schemes were not fully utilised on many occasions due to the “apathy of officials” of the state.

Handing over job letters to 546 new appointees, Sarma appealed to them to bring a new work culture to the government machinery and said that the schemes have suffered in Assam due to the reluctance of employees to work hard.

“On many occasions in the past, funds received from the central government for implementation of development schemes could not be fully utilised for the apathy of officials engaged in the works here,” he said in a statement.

Sarma handed over appointment letters to 218 assistant engineers in Panchayat and Rural Development Department (P&RD), 155 technical officers in Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and 173 junior administrative assistants (JAAs) in General Administration Department.

As P&RD is a very crucial department, which is responsible for implementing development schemes at the grassroots, the newly appointed assistant engineers will be required to dedicatedly engage themselves in the same, he said.

“Assam stood at the last position in the country in implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission though there was no dearth of funds. Our government is striving hard to provide targeted 62 lakh piped water connections in Assam by next year and 12 lakh households have already been provided with it.

“The newly recruited technical officers of PHED will be engaged in the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission to expedite the activities,” the chief minister said.

Noting that Janata Bhavan (state secretariat) is the nerve centre of the state administration, he hoped that the newly appointed JAAs will augment its functioning.

Sarma said that all pending files in Janata Bhavan will be cleared from February 1 and all employees have to work hard for that.

He warned that corruption and negligence in duty will not be tolerated and timely service delivery must be ensured to the public.

The chief minister said that from next year, engineers will be recruited through one examination a year and they will be posted across various departments as per their preferences.

He said that the state government is steadfast in its commitment to giving one lakh jobs to the youths by May and is taking all necessary steps in this regard.

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