Development still a far cry for Langpih residents

NONGSTOIN: Come election time and Meghalaya politicians will swear by Langpih. During election rallies and political meetings in West Khasi Hills, Nongstoin in particular, leaders will promise that they will strive to free Langpih from the yoke of Assam. But an area that they claim to be an integral part of Meghalaya remains neglected by the State Government in all spheres of development.

The ‘kuchcha’ road that connects Langpih and the adjoining areas with the outside world had been built by the Assam government, only the footpaths are courtesy the Meghalaya government. In entire Langpih, there is no electricity. Water pipes that supply water twice a day in all the villages have been provided by the Meghalaya government. From the side of the Meghalaya government, there is no provision of water supply.

Electricity poles have been erected all around by the Assam government, but none of the Khasi households has availed of connexion for fear of strengthening the claim of the Assam government in their localities.

Khasi villagers of the area allege that their lands have been encroached upon forcibly by the Assam government to set up the electric poles. “We did not permit the electrical authorities of Assam to set up these poles. But, despite our refusal, they barged into our fields, felled our trees and destroyed the crops around it to set up the poles,” a villager of Umwali lamented.

To reach Umwali from Langpih, one has to cross a river. Here the Assam government has thoughtfully constructed an RCC bridge to provide access for the people of Umwali to Langpih. Just next to the RCC bridge, there still stands an apology for a bridge built by the Meghalaya government, which resembles a footpath. This so called ‘bridge’ is just over a foot in width and stands about two metres above the water. It has no railings or any kind of support to held pedestrians to cross over safely.

The Shillong Times asked the villagers of Umwali what all facilities or amenities the Meghalaya government had provided them with. “The government has provided us with fish ponds and water sources. Until last year we used to get ration from Umbyrsit but for reasons unknown to us they have stopped the provision. So now we have to get our rations from retail shops. We would like to tell the Meghalaya government to make up their minds because they claim that these areas belong to them but the basic amenities are absent here,” was the reply. The underlying hint was unmistakable.

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