Monday, June 17, 2024

4 Laning Vs a Fast Buck


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The four laning of NH 40 was expected to bring the much expected relief to commuters along this busy highway. The expansion work did make an impressive beginning. Then came the unexpected kick in the teeth. The Government, yes none other than that high profile entity that goes by such a name, stepped in , without rhyme or reason, to question its own decision of bypassing Umsning. Survey of the proposed Byepass had already been carried out since 2003; compensation to all land owners worked out and ready to be disbursed; 4 laning ready to be carried out when the Government, for totally unexplained reasons decided to change its mind and take the 4 laning right through Umsning town. The expected, and if unexpected then there is something seriously wrong with this Government, hullabaloo erupted. The 4 laning and expansion of NH 40 is now in jeopardy !

What followed can only be described as political duplicity at its worst. Finding itself in a quandary of its own making, the Government took resort to a plebiscite. A local poll was carried out to help it decide what to do next. Why not toss of a coin, it would have made things that much more respectable? Why do we always have to make asses of ourselves? For God’s sake are we building a road or running a democratic election under Article 324 of the Constitution? Since when have administrative decisions been subjected to results from a public poll? If this is a new system of administration then lets begin where it should really begin. First do away with all Acts that empower administration since they have now become redundant if every Government decision is to be drycleaned by the public. Next, all such decisions like the demolition of Tara Ghar and the increase of the MLA scheme must first attain public approval. The Government cannot be selective in the application of the law.

Having said that , the Government must explain in detail the reasons that made it change its mind as far as the Umsning Byepass is concerned. This explanation is yet to be placed in the public domain. Its too important a public matter to be left unexplained or to be left to a ‘kickback’ induced decision of any single individual in power. There is reason to believe that the 25 year delay in the Shillong Byepass was caused exactly by such induced decisions. We cannot allow the 4-laning of NH 40 to go the same way. To tell the truth, we the public have lost all faith in an administration that gives with its right hand and takes away with its left. With all sincerity, can we please have our 4 laned national highway ASAP and without any one making a fast buck in the process?

Yours etc.,

Toki Blah,

Via email


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