By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: No sooner had the BSF under the leadership of A Asthana, Deputy Inspector General undertook the cleaning drive of Shillong Golf Course (SGC) on June 20, when picnickers are back to their littering on Saturday and Sunday. The Shillong Times spoke to SGC Secretary, Ashok Lyngdoh whether the cleaning drive is enough to keep the SPG clean Lyngdoh replied that the condition of the Course over the last weekend is the same except that the BSF jawans had been deployed to clean it up for the last two Mondays. The BSF is trying to bring in awareness among the people about the importance of the Course but apparently a clean-up job is not enough. “Unless the State legislates a ‘Polluter pays’ policy nothing much is likely to happen,” says an avid golfer. Ashok Lyngdoh said the BSF have deployed around 108 personnel this Monday for the cleaning operation. “They (BSF) have been helping us to clean up the course since SGC does not have enough manpower. However, there has not been any concerted effort from our side to invite the headmen of the area for a joint cleaning up collaboration. Picnickers from Shillong town and elsewhere gather at the Course every weekend,” he said. Lyngdoh said it appears that there is no solution in sight. He requested the media to play a more meaningful role in creating public awareness on this issue.
“Actually it is all about mindsets. We have laws for everything under the sun but unless peoples’ mindsets change, nothing much will happen. People have to feel a sense of ownership for the Golf Course.,” said Mr Lyngdoh. He said the SGC will make a public appeal shortly through the Shillong Press Club and enlist their support for the SGC.
In the past the SGC members said picnickers and youths vandalized the refreshment hut of SGC, which was erected for providing drinks to golfers during a break in their games.
Suresh Singh, Managing Director, The Shillong Club Ltd. while lamenting that the menace continues in the Course also said that the Management is thinking of ways and means to stop the littering. A meeting would be convened shortly with the Board of Directors along with the Golf Captain and Secretary. It may be mentioned that the Golf Links headman has clarified in the past that the SGC is a private property and they have no say in its management or cleanliness.
The SGC is one of the largest golf courses in Asia and is known as “Gleneagles of the East.” Over the years it has become run down and disheveled on account of the littering by weekend picnickers. Part of the Course is being used to play football and cricket by local youths. The Course is under the management of The Shillong Club Ltd.