MDA Govt’s partiality in creating new C&RD Blocks

Editor,

Should we say kudos to the MDA Government for creating only a few new C&RD Blocks in the state namely at Rambrai and Nonglang in West Khasi Hills, at Siju in South Garo Hills and at Adokgre in North Garo Hills, at Lumchnong East Jaintia Hills and at Namdong in West Jaintia Hills? Purakhasia and Batabari C & RD Blocks, both in West Garo Hills, are on the verge of officially being notified and duly inaugurated. What has been left out of the radar for creation of C & RD Blocks are Umdohlun and Wahkaji in South West Khasi Hills, at Maweit and at Umdang in West Khasi Hills.
Why does the NPP led government ignore and discriminates against these neglected areas consisting of hundreds of villages which are far away from the reach of the existing Blocks. The reason is because Mr.Gigur Marthong, MLA from Mawshynrut Constituency, Mr. Renikton Tongkhar, MLA and Mr. Pius Marwein, MLA from Mawkyrwat and Ranikor Constituencies respectively, have failed miserably to lobby and convince their own MDA government to set up the C& RD in these far flung, remotest and neglected areas which have suffered in last five decades. These areas fall under the constituencies of the above three MLAs of whom one is a minister.
There are many more areas in the state that are in urgent need of C & RD Blocks which are the units closest to the people for bringing about faster rural development in the 7000 plus villages. Every year new habitations keep cropping up thereby the demand for food, water, clean environment, living space (land) keep on increasing by leaps and bounds; so too the need for all round development and civic Amenities in these new habitations.
Since the General elections are just two months away, we voters, need to use our grey matter and exercise our franchise cautiously and judiciously because the state is badly in need of leaders (public representatives) or MLAs who are capable, farsighted, efficient, accountable, corruption-free and God fearing in order to reduce, if not eliminate altogether, the rottenness in governance in the State. The rot and stench has gone over the top both in urban and rural Meghalaya.
Those who live under the jurisdictions of municipalities and those living in rural areas may not know how much centrally- sponsored development funds are handled by the respective Blocks. You will be surprised to know that each Block handles much more than the budget of any single department in the Government of Meghalaya. In fact only the Centrally Sponsored Schemes that flow from the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj for MGNRES and PMAY (not to mention other schemes like NRLM, MPLADS (both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), DDU-GKY, RGSA, Amit Sarovar, SAGY come to several hundred crores of rupees every financial year. Not only these, the Blocks handle state development funds (schemes) as well like SRWP, DTFM, IACDP, ISYDP, CMSDF and Catalytic Funds in convergence with MBMA. In fact, all the Blocks handle huge development funds which are in the hands of the BDO and his subordinates who can make and unmake village development. So, should they be made responsible, accountable and transparent in handling so much public funds? Yet for last 50 years the people of Meghalaya, especially the rural masses who are the main stakeholders, the public representatives and the government have never raised any questions. In fact many MLAs and village leaders connive with them for their own pecuniary and political benefits.
Turning to the rural (village) scenes, it is a fact that all Village Employment Councils (VECs) have been receiving and will also be receiving so many work orders from the Block concerned from the MGNRES component and each VEC had received and will be receiving work orders every year. Each work order amounts to several lakhs of rupees depending on the type of community assets created/to be created in the concerned village/s. The Community assets include multipurpose halls, motorable roads, footbridges, footpaths, community washing ponds, community fish ponds, youth club offices, pig sheds, poultry sheds, cowsheds, village buses/vehicle waiting sheds, village shopping centre, raising of village community reserved forest plantations, village artisan training centres and many other village community based utilities. The sole purpose of this scheme is to create critical fixed assets for the community in the villages and thereby provide employment at least for hundred man-days for each unemployed person in a village per year on demand. This is a demand- driven employment scheme.
We are aware that these Centrally Sponsored Schemes routed through the Blocks are a huge blessing to the villages. In fact many villages have been transformed in many ways. However, these funds can also be a curse because much of the public funds meant for the villages are siphoned off through the connivance of some BDOs, Junior Engineers, Gram Sevaks and the Chairpersons and Secretaries of VECs. It’s a horrible scenario because too many things are at play at this level. Even the so called social audits meant to audit the accounts for implementation of MGNRES are far from being trustworthy, accountable and transparent.
It is therefore of immense importance that the functioning at all levels from the Blocks down to village levels are to be thoroughly streamlined, overhauled and strict vigilance be ensured. Government must entrust the monitoring of projects and financial implications to independent monitoring agencies. There must responsibility, transparency accountability through a full- proof mechanism right from the levels of BDOs, Junior engineers, Gram sevaks and the VECs. If all these implementors are had done their duties honestly and were trustworthy, by now all villages in the state would have developed and been shining outposts everywhere.

Yours etc.,

Philip Marwein,

Senior Journalist,

Via email

Meghalaya celebrating its 50th year – A political drama

Editor,

Meghalaya celebrated its 50th Statehood Day this year. Since 1972 we know that the financial allocation to various developmental sectors has increased from year to year, but where the money has gone is another matter. Total road length has increased over the years ( from 1,388.000 km in 2009 to 36,348.000 km in 2018 ), but the conditions of these roads raises many questions. The Shillong- Jowai Road has been in pathetic conditions for almost a year and no one bothered. Many bridges, footpaths, health centers, school buildings, water supply schemes, and other social services have been provided to the people but what about its proper maintenance? The political drama does not end here. A number of schools and colleges have been established during the last fifty years but the whole world knows about the literacy rate and dropout rate of the State. These are the so-called achievements in the State that we are observing in its 50th year. We will know our real achievement only when we compare Meghalaya with other States. At this point in time, I can only say there seems to be a vertical but not horizontal development in Meghalaya.
Given the struggles that Meghalaya is going through right now, it saddens me to see that men and women in leadership positions and roles who have been elected to lead us had failed in all spheres. Our only hope is that we elect visionary leaders (in 2023) who can envision what they want the future to look like and strategize on how to get there.

Yours etc.,

Dr. Omarlin Kyndiah,

Via email

Get real time updates directly on your device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.