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Covid19 has caused unprecedented hardships for the people of Meghalaya with many having lost their livelihoods and struggling to subsist on doles apart from having to battle the disease through social distancing and other measures. The Assembly session is an opportune moment to discuss the hardships of a large section of the population. This is not the time for Government bashing or to play political football about which political party has done how much for the returnees. Every political party has the moral obligation to come forward and extend help in whatever way possible to those in their respective constituencies that are stranded outside the state or are finding it difficult to buy their rations. The Government is battling the crisis on two major fronts – Health and Economics. Health because Covid 19 demands that the Government is prepared to tackle the medical emergency by way of creating institutional quarantine centres in different districts depending on the number of returnees to Meghalaya. This is a crucial period since any let-up at this time could prove fatal for the state which up until now only had Covid positive cases that did not require hospitalisation; only quarantine. Economic issues are critical should have been discussed in the Assembly so that the public knows what quantum of the financial package has been received from the Centre and which key sectors that money is being injected into. If the sector is Agriculture then what are the new areas are being targeted. Are those areas productive enough to revive the economy?
Then there is the elephant in the room which is Education. What are the Government’s strategic plans to enable students to catch up on missed classes and examinations? Is this not the brief of all MLAs ruling and opposition? Much has been spoken about online classes. Are MLAs representing rural constituencies following up on how this mode of education is helping their young constituents? Are the students able to log on and have online classes along with their peers in the urban hubs? If not, how will they cope? How will the digital divide be bridged? Are these not questions that affect a large section of our youth? So why are MLAs not engaged with the issue? Why do they waste the time of the Assembly on pedantic questions about border issues which are perennially raised without much outcome?
The Meghalaya Assembly is a good barometer to test the thinking capacity of our MLAs, many of whom hardly do their homework. Then there is the case of the Health Minister who does not know whether or not Civil Hospital has an incinerator for bio-medical waste and had to be corrected by the Chief Minister. The debates in the Meghalaya Assembly had been going downhill for a while now. It reflects the intellectual and statesmanship vacuum in the State.