Wretched Roads of Garo Hills

By  K.J. Jose

Meghalaya is celebrating its 50th year of statehood. It is a time to rejoice and revel in the state’s autonomy. Meghalaya, with its rich heritage and prominence, certainly must celebrate this jubilant moment in history. Its scenic beauty and the topography is marvellous.  The beautiful rivers, mountains and meadows would attract anyone to the state. The capital city of Shillong is known all over the world as ‘Scotland of East’, while ‘The abode of clouds’ is very apt for Meghalaya as we spot clouds in our backyards, from our windows but most importantly, that we receive rains in abundance.
A beautiful state, one of the most picturesque places for tourists, is lamenting to a great extent, mainly because of the road conditions, particularly in the North Garo Hills (NGH).
As a local resident of the district, it is easily one of the least motorable roads in the times. I have made a trip almost all over NGH and it was a pity to discover that largely all the roads are in the same condition – miserable. There are big and small gutters all over. If one were to add a humorous touch, one wouldn’t need any physical exercise as their spines will need a medical examination after a short ride on them.
I found most of the roads are in despicable conditions. As a conscientious citizen, it is worrisome since road taxes, passenger taxes, and other such are collected regularly.  The questions then follow, ‘what is the allocated money spent on, if not for road works?’ ‘as we celebrate the 50 years of the state’s birth, is it not the bare minimum for Meghalayans to have access to navigable roads?’
To define it further, it is distressing for all sections of society as school going children find it extremely hard, especially during the rainy season. When they walk or cycle to school, vehicles pass by splashing water on them.
Among the other vulnerable components, that is of elderly persons, it is even more dire – bearing ill-effects on their health. North Garo Hills was deemed a district in 2012 and a decade hence, it is a tangible sample of neglect.
So, whom does one turn to for help? I believe all citizens have the right to traverse on a clean and smooth road. The culpability is not only to the present government but the previous ones as well, as we all need to take the responsibility.  50 years, and it’s time to awaken from our slumber and act positively for the welfare of the district, Garo Hills and the State of Meghalaya.

The writer is the Principal of Montfort School, Jonglapara, North Garo Hills

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