I wish to draw the attention of the PWD minister, Mr HDR Lyngdoh and the PWD to some important issues. Firstly, the monsoon season is over, and we have been experiencing bright sunny days now but repair work has not begun on the GS Road from
Mawlai to Umiam despite promises made by the Chief Engineer Mr Chyrmang last month. Filling pot holes with stones is not counted as repair work. Rather it is an insult to the people of Meghalaya that the State PWD is allowed to rob us in this manner.
Secondly, is the PWD minister and his officers not aware of the kind of hate (I can only describe it as hate – pure vitriol!) being expressed by the people of Meghalaya in the newspapers and on the internet on a daily basis? There are even pages devoted to HDR Lyngdoh on Facebook (Save Umiam) asking people not to vote for him again for his non-performance as PWD Minister! Now this may be going a little too far but nevertheless, the message should not be taken lightly. People are completely frustrated with the non-performance of the PWD. There have been suggestions that CBI should investigate the PWD, and with good reason I fear. Kong Patricia Mukhim in her article “PWD – Time to hold this institution accountable” in this paper has asked for a PIL against the department and an RTI to find out the names of PWD contractors who last repaired the GS Road. Is this not justification enough that something is badly amiss in this department?
Thirdly, I would like to ask the PWD Minister about the process of work inspection and how it is done in his department. Does anyone from his department really inspect the work done by contractors? If so, why do our roads require repairs every few weeks or days even? Are the contractors’ bills being passed without even a cursory inspection of the work done? Because, a cursory inspection is all that is needed to find out that these contractors have been robbing us blind without doing any work whatsoever. Going by this, what prevents us from arriving at the conclusion that the PWD officials and even the Minister himself are active participants in this farce to rob the State exchequer by colluding with corrupt contractors?
Lastly, we would like the PWD to disclose its financial allocations over the past five years and correlate this data with the work done during the same period in all the newspapers of the State. Mr Minister, I strongly urge you to respond to the above questions at the earliest. You are being seen as the man who has decimated the image and good name of the State of Meghalaya with your lousy roads.
Plastics our biggest enemy
Its great news for environmentalist to hear that the state government has decided to finally implement the law banning the use and sale of plastic bags as per the Plastic Waste Management and Handling Rules 2011. The State Government had earlier imposed a similar ban on Jan 1, 2006 (Meghalaya Prohibition of Manufacture, Sale and Use and Throwing of Low Density Plastic Bags Act 2001) but because of the little knowledge that people have on the impact of plastics this rule was not efficacious.
If you carry a plastic (low density) bag in Delhi you will be fined one lakh rupees or spend five years in prison. Here too the Government has announced that action would be taken against those who violate the rules, but the Government needs to clearly state as to what type of plastics are banned and what is the punishment so that none will take the ban for granted. Till date people of Shillong are still seen with plastic bags in their hands. Why not MPSCB along with any like minded institutions, create mass awareness through the print or electronic media on the various types of plastics?
On 5th Oct 2011 your paper reported that the state government will now save one tonne of bitumen which costs Rs 50,000 – Rs 60,000. This bitumen will be replaced by plastics. But according to the Government they need to buy plastics! The idea is good and has been successful in states like Andhra Pradesh .But now the question is why buy plastic and also from where do we get plastics since they are completely banned?
There are only two options left. One is to segregate the waste at Marten and the other is to make segregation compulsory for each and every household so that it will be easier for the municipal trucks to transfer the plastics to the PWD department. This will cut down the Government’s expenditure and also all houses will be plastic free. There is also a great opportunity for our local growers of ‘ladew’ or ‘bolgota'(phrynium leaves) to do brisk business and enhance their entrepreneurship skills.
Thanks to our versatile and audacious Urban Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh and to the Urban Affairs Department for giving a second chance to us Meghalayans to save our Mother Earth from her biggest enemy and also to be able to bring back the name ‘Scotland of the East’ to our beautiful Shillong.
North East Educational and Development Society (NEEDS)
Wake up Jaintia Hills!
I read with great concern the article of Ma Mohrmen appearing in your esteemed daily ‘Jaintia Hills, calamity waiting to happen'(ST 3rd October 2011). Amongst the many ills that plague the district, to me the environmental degradation is the most grievous. What will happen if something like the recent Sikkim earthquake were to strike? We should be thankful that Jaintia Hills is blessed richly in terms of natural resources and natural beauty. If the district is allowed to continue at the pace that it is going now with regards to the unscrupulous and rampant rape of the land, I shudder at the thought of how the coming decade will turn out. The recent statement of the mining minister, ‘Mining policy to safeguard land, greenery’ (ST October 5th 2011) wherein he states that the proposed mining policy would make it mandatory for miners to refill the land, should be supported by one and all. Through this letter, I appeal to the people of Jaintia Hills and in particular the people belonging to the coal belt to rise up and do the right thing for the benefit of posterity. As a first step, we should start with ‘A Clean and Green Jowai’ to restore Jaintia Hills and not ‘Jaintia Ills’.