Monday, July 22, 2024

‘Whistling village’ now has an ‘outsider’ MP as its saviour


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SHILLONG: Overlooked at home by politicians and intelligentsia alike, the “whistling village”, Kongthong’s wheel of fortune seems to be moving in the right direction, finally!
Kongthong now has an unlikely saviour who’s a rank “outsider” having a tryst with the place.
Rajya Sabha member Rakesh Sinha, who has developed a bond with the place, has announced on Independence Day his decision to “adopt” the stand-out village.
“From August 15 Kongthong is my village”, he announced, promising to transform it into a “model village and tourism centre”.
This implies that the BJP MP will be pumping in his MPLAD funds to this picturesque Khasi village in order to bring about its rapid infrastructure development.
In an interview with The Shillong Times (See Page-3), Sinha, who is also an Associate Professor in Delhi University, said that the villagers deserve better life and promised to mobilise additional resources from the governments in Delhi and Shillong for making Kongthong a real land of milk and honey.
The MP, who hails from Bihar but is stationed in Delhi, makes no bones about his feeling that villages like Kongthong have remained uncared for because of apathy of the state. “What shocked me is the lack of awareness of academics, intelligentsia and political class of Meghalaya too about their own great cultural tradition,” he said.
“It is good to talk about great tradition” but that should not “obfuscate” the issues that plague the lives of the people, he said.
Sinha, it may be mentioned, had drawn the attention of the nation about the little known unique “whistling village” while speaking in Rajya Sabha last year. When the MPs heard about Kongthong, they were simply “dumbfounded”, he said.
Recalling his maiden visit to Kongthong a year ago, he said it was “a memorable journey and stay”. Impressed by the “innocence, simplicity and contentment” Sinha made up his mind to do everything possible on his part to change the fortune of the place. He hoped that the state government would cooperate with him in “lifting this village from the cycle of backwardness”.
As for what he thinks are the major obstacles that lead to stagnation of development, Sinha’s prognosis was that the state was basically hamstrung by three factors: “corruption, red-tape and middlemen”. He has shared the same with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma hoping that he would eradicate the same.
The 56-year-old MP, who is also an RSS activist, noted with concern that Meghalaya was unable to develop because “some elements” that “obstruct development activities” and create “civil anarchy”, were not being tackled “properly and sternly”. He also felt that the “binary between tribal and non-tribal” should be “amicably resolved”.


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