Monday, April 15, 2024

KHADC brazenly defies govt order on closure of toll gates


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SHILLONG, July 11: The failure of the state government to reign in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council seems to have emboldened the latter which is now brazenly defying the government’s ultimatum to close down all illegal toll gates on state and national highways.
Notwithstanding the authorities and the litany of dictums, the KHADC was recently caught red-handed collecting money from truckers on toll gates that were running openly on the highways.
On Saturday, journalists from The Shillong Times witnessed toll gates going about their business on National Highway 6 and Council officials collecting toll from truckers. Ironically, there were signboards that say the toll gates operated by the Council have been removed.
While the state government’s sympathetic attitude towards the corruption-riddled autonomous district councils was known, it was particularly evident on June 23 last when it invited the KHADC and the JHADC for discussions but conveniently skipped the burning issue of corruption in the councils.
Following that meeting, District Council Affairs Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said the state government had expressly asked the JHADC and the KHADC to immediately close down all the illegal toll gates within their jurisdiction on the National Highway, state highways and state roads, failing which immediate action will be initiated by the district administration.
Rymbui said a proposal was also made to conduct checks to ensure such toll gates are stopped, adding that the JHADC and KHADC agreed to comply with the government’s directive after they were told they have no authority over the national highways, state highways and state roads within their territory.
He could not quantify the illegal gates but said there are many such check gates of the Himas and the Syiems.
On Monday, when TST approached Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong with the query on why the KHADC had not complied with the government’s order of closing down the toll gates, he said that he had no idea if they had complied or not. “Directives have been issued to all the district councils and they are supposed to comply,” Tynsong said in what is evidently a namby-pamby response to the recalcitrant council.


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