SHILLONG: The series agitation of the pro-ILP activist in the past few weeks has paralyzed normal life in the State. The closure of banks particularly has caused tremendous hardships for students whose parents remit money through banks.
Business houses and shops dependent on bank transactions have also faced a lot of inconvenience.
The office picketing, night road blockade and bandh called by the ten NGOs has created much confusion among the public as many are not sure what the agitation is all about.
Vegetable farmers complained that all agitations in Meghalaya have always been timed during the season when the squash (piscot) vegetable is harvested. Many have disposed off their vegetables at throwaway prices since the road blockade starts at 7 pm.
The ongoing agitation has also derailed or delayed the various activities of the State Government.
On account of the office picketing, people who have some work at the Block offices or any emergency work in the Government offices would have to wait till the coming week since offices would remain closed for virtually the whole week.
Commenting on this a political commentator said, “This government does not seem bothered about getting its employees to attend office. There is no appeal or order over the public address system telling employees to attend office or face consequences.”
An official of the police department said in the earlier picketing nearly 80% employees attended office but after seeing that the main secretariat and other offices were virtually empty they too have stayed away this time.
The worst affected on account of this office picketing are the people hailing from the remote parts of the State.
People from the rural areas have to travel several kilometers and spend a huge amount of money to visit the Government offices at the district headquarters. Many are unsure why the offices are open but the employees are absent.
It is reported that hundreds from various remote areas of the State would throng to the various Community and Rural Development (C&RD) Block Development Officers (BDOs) offices daily to inquire about the various Government schemes like IAY and others.
Implementation of the ongoing schemes including the Government’s flagship programme the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme (IBDLP) is now stuttering. “As it is most schemes in Meghalaya are never completed on time. Now there will be enough excuses for delay of projects etc.,” said a rural entrepreneur engaged with the Meghalaya Rural Development Society (MRDS).
While speaking to few people to get their reaction on this, a shopkeeper in Police Bazaar said that the ongoing agitation would definitely hamper the growth and development in the State.
“We have daily transactions in the bank. We are going to suffer since the banks are going to be closed for the whole week,” Das said.
He said that the NGOs cannot take people for a ride like this.
Another shopkeeper in Polo Market said that the Government needs to take a tough stance on people and groups calling bandhs.
Meanwhile, a young student Alex Lyngdoh also believed that the Government has to take steps to end this stalemate.
“The common people are suffering due to the fight between Government and NGOs. There has to be a solution to this problem,” Lyngdoh said.
Interestingly, a vegetable vendor in Iewduh Rosa Kharsati (name changed), has however has supported this movement of the NGOs. When asked if she knows the reason behind the movement she said, “If the NGOs are fighting for something it must be for the good of the people.”