Peeved at govt apathy, locals decide to merge with Bangladesh

Villagers rely on neighbouring country for survival

SHILLONG: Livid at the lackadaisical attitude of the state and central governments to solve the border connectivity issues, residents of four villages in Indo-Bangla border of Jaintia Hills have unanimously decided to give their villages to Bangladesh if the government is not willing to start road connectivity.
In a statement issued here, spokesperson of the four villages, Kynjaimon Amse, said public meetings were held in the villages to discuss course of action given the fact that the government has not been serious enough to build the road for them.
Stating that people have been frustrated and tired, he said, “Through the meeting, it has been unanimously decided that the village dorbar and its more than 5000 population will give the four villages and its 5000 plus population to Bangladesh if the government is not willing to construct the road for us”.
He went on to add that the people have also decided that the four villages will write to the Government of Bangladesh to request for construction of the road since the state and central governments have failed to render any solution to their problems.
“Prima facie, it is clear that the lives of the border population do not matter at all to the government and we are being used just for votes. If the government really considers us as Indians and is serious about our problems, then it should immediately address the road problem and interim measures should be taken up to ease the issues failing which the people will have no choice but to take extreme steps,” he said.
Pointing to the deplorable condition of the Rymbai-Bataw-Borkhat-Sonapur Road, Amse said the condition of the road has affected the livelihoods of over 5000 people who live in Hingaria, Huroi, Lahalein and Lejri villages.
With the absence of a proper connectivity, proper medical facilities, lives of the people have been crippled.
Stating that the government is least interested in these border villages, he said people have to rely on neighbouring Bangladesh for their survival.
“The world may be facing lockdown for the first time )but the people of the above-stated border villages have been under lockdown since their existence as they are cut off without road and communication and no one knows what is going on these villages,” Amse said.
He added that there have been instances where patients have lost their lives because of not being able to reach hospitals on time, adding that some people even resort to crossing the border seeking medical attention.
The farmers in the villages are the worst sufferers as they have to shed huge amount of money just for transporting the products to the nearest market and sometimes due to the bad condition of the road they have to sell their products at a very nominal rate to Bangladeshi traders.
Stating that almost all the problems of the people in the villages are linked with the bad condition of the road, he said unless the road problem is solved there can be no development and growth in these villages.
Amse recalled that the villages had written to the chief minister, governor, PMO, Home Ministry, NITI Aayog, Finance Ministry, NEC and many other offices of the Union government, seeking intervention. “Even after the matter was taken up by the High Court of Meghalaya and NHRC, the governments at both levels have been reluctant to the needs of the people,” Amse said.
Asserting that the proposal worth Rs. 123 crore for construction of the road has been lying with the DoNER Ministry since April 2019, he said that the Ministry has not even discussed the proposal till date.

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