Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Jumpstarting development

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From kick-starting Meghalaya has to jump-start development. It has not happened in three decades because there has been no proper planning, no prioritization and no focal areas. Sometimes it would be tempting to say that we need a consultant to tell us which developmental road we need to take, but consultants cannot give us magic bullets. They only narrate back to us in a stylish, bulleted capsule what we have told them in gibberish. The crux of the matter is leadership. Good leaders have not survived. Others who pretend to be leaders have only played politics with the State and its resources.

Meghalaya we are repeatedly told since our days in high school has immense potentials to become the leader of the North East. It started off as a leader with all the infrastructure readied by the British and already well laid out. Education was Meghalaya’s forte; now it may have slipped from that place of pride. The State had a fairly functional health care system with private missionary initiatives giving cutting edge service in far flung areas of the State. Now with so much money pouring in from Delhi by way of smart sounding schemes, some of them a mouthful to pronounce, we seem to be regressing. More people have fallen off the economic ladder into that precipice called ‘below poverty line’ from where they usually are unable to be rescued or do not wish to be, because of the incentives they enjoy!

Urban poverty is growing and with it the mess that ghettoes without any basic amenities are apt to display. Shillong city is growing beyond the urban plan. Building construction, drainage, sanitation etc are in a deep mess and the blame game is on in full swing. They say morning tells the day. Similarly Shillong is the window to Meghalaya. If Shillong the seat of government is so badly governed why should we expect the rural areas to fare better without any supervision or monitoring? To add to the mess are the tiers of governance toppling over each other about what to govern but with the least inkling of how to govern. Meghalaya needs a bright young batch of MLAs, not those well past their expiry date. The young may make mistakes but they have the stamina to reverse those errors. The elderly have had their lives of charm. It’s time to oust them out (they will never retire) before they take Meghalaya with them to limbo!

 

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