GUWAHATI, June 11: The opposition Congress in Assam on Friday slammed Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his remarks on controlling the population of the northeastern state.
While addressing the media on Thursday, Sarma said that the immigrant Muslim population must adopt decent family planning norms as land and resources are limited.
“If the population is not controlled then various problems and crimes would come up jeopardising the future of the new generations,” he added.
In response, Assam Congress’ Media Department Chairperson Bobbeeta Sharma said that the Chief Minister’s statement in the context about population ‘explosion’ in Assam is “misinformed and misleading”.
She said that as per the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) undertaken by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and released in December 2020, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) across most Indian states have declined in the last five years.
“The total fertility rate is defined as the average number of children that would be born to a woman by the time she ends childbearing. A TFR of 2.1 is known as the replacement rate. Fertility rate of less than 2.1 implies that the total population will be less than the existing population which is also called the negative growth rate,” Sharma said.
She said that as per the same survey above the fertility rate of women in Assam has declined from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 1.9 in 2020-21 and 1.9 is less than 2.1 which means the future population of Assam will only be less than the current population.
“Hence there is no question of an increase in population as per the Ministry’s data.”
The Congress leader said that if the Chief Minister is referring to the “population explosion” that may happen in future due to immigration of people from Bangladesh and Pakistan because of the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act then perhaps his concern is valid.
“We at the Congress party take this opportunity to assure the Chief Minister that we will take definite steps and do our best to save Kamakhya temple and his house from such encroachment.
“If the population explosion continues, one day even the famous Kamakhya temple land will be encroached upon, that even my house will be encroached upon” is unbecoming of the Chief Minister of a state who is expected to be well versed in the demographic facts of the state, she added.