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Fresh push for Tura as Winter Capital

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TURA, June 4: The A’chik Holistic Awakening Movement (AHAM) on Sunday urged Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma to fulfil the long-pending demand for making Tura the Winter Capital of the state, an issue which was just recently raised by the A’chik Conscious Holistically Integrated Krima (ACHIK) along with other organisations based in the Garo Hills.
AHAM has also served a memorandum in this regard to the chief minister.
“You are aware that it is the aspiration and long-standing petition of the people of Tura and wider Garo Hills to make Tura the Winter Capital of Meghalaya. This dates back to the time when Meghalaya was formed, and the agreement between the founding leaders from the Garo, Jaintia and Khasi communities was to establish two capitals for the state — Tura as the Winter Capital from October to March, and Shillong as the Summer Capital from April to September. This agreement has not been honoured and Tura has been deprived of its status and disregarded by successive governments which is an injustice to the people of Tura and Garo Hills,” it said in the memorandum.
The organisation gave a number of compelling reasons for the fulfilment of the Winter Capital demand.
“The Garos are very different from Khasis/Jaintias ethnically, culturally and linguistically. The core purpose of carving out a separate state of Meghalaya from Assam is for the preservation and advancement of local identity, culture and territory of the three ethnic groups in the state. Since the formation of Meghalaya with Shillong as the sole capital, the statehood has mainly benefited the Khasi/Jaintia communities only in all spheres of development and societal advancement as all the state government machinery and resources are concentrated and focussed on Khasi-Jaintia Hills region alone, whilst the Garos and Garo Hills are largely neglected and deprived of their due recognition which is discriminatory in nature as the state equally belongs to all the three distinct groups,” the organisation stated adding, establishing the winter capital in Tura would ensure multiple benefits to the region.
AHAM also pointed out that the location of the current state capital was very far for the general public of Garo Hills and presents a massive logistical issue particularly for the remote rural public. It added that accessing the capital is not practical and feasible as it involves huge amounts of time and resources which most of the public cannot afford.
It reminded that the model of two capitals has been adopted by several states in India for efficient administration and good governance keeping in mind the social and ethnic diversity amongst other reasons.
“Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh are some of these states to name a few. Meghalaya must adopt this best practice in the interest of the public of Garo Hills who have been long deprived of their due recognition and development,” the memorandum stated.

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