Sunday, May 19, 2024

No significant development in Meghalaya in last 50+years


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Shillong city as we see it today is our creation since we attained statehood. What we see today was envisioned approximately 50 years ago. The lowering of educational standards in our state is purely a creation of our past governments. The negligence of past governments in making education the top priority in their policy has reduced our state to the lowest rank in India today. The present government too is in deep slumber by not taking any corrective steps to rectify the various problems in education right from the primary level up to the highest level in our state. What is more alarming now are the flaws pointed out by the leading research agency Nity Aayog such as that Meghalaya has the dirtiest rivers {viz. UmKhrah, UmShirpy}; is the most corrupt state in India as remarked by the Union Home Minister; Shillong as one of the dirtiest cities in India and Meghalaya being the third poorest state in India. There are many more flaws that are surfacing like the most ill-planned/unplanned city in India; ill-maintained dirtiest Umiam dam for generation of electricity; city with highest traffic jam in India; the most disorganised and profligate state in India with so many non-essential advisers/chairpersons appointed resulting in the looting of the state exchequer.
Right now, our government is focusing its attention on festivals to attract both local, national and international tourists to our state. I do not argue with this step taken by the government to raise the economy of our state but I fail to understand how tourists would want to come to this state when they hear that Shilling has become notable for its traffic jams and it is increasing by the day. The traffic jam in Shillong was waiting to happen. It started over 25 years ago but our Home Department is sitting idle without thinking of any corrective measures to solve this problem. We see new flyovers coming up in all congested roads of the neighbouring state of Assam as preventive measures to solve traffic congestion but our state is yet unable to take similar corrective measures.
I had earlier pointed out that the failure of implementation of traffic light signals in Shillong could be due to the outdated/inefficient software used during the time when it was tested in Shillong. This traffic light system is readily applied in all types of road conditions all over the world. It would be a new research finding that the system had failed when applied to Shillong. Based on its failure, the Traffic department could have sought suggestions from other states of India on successful application of this system on roads similar to those of Shillong.
I have seen the successful implementation of traffic signal light systems in our country and abroad even in busy narrow streets similar to our roads. With the existing conditions of our roads, if we could get the right experts to design new software, our problems of traffic congestion will be permanently solved. Further, suggestions have been given in my earlier write-ups for expanding the narrow roads in the New Shillong township but our government remains apathetic and no rectification is visible as yet. The same congestion we face right now in Shillong will be faced in the near future at New Shillong if it continues to remain unplanned.
Those who have read my earlier article published in The Shillong Times will curse this government for not acting in time when it is required for the PWD to do so. act. Please show some concern for the citizens and for the proper development of our state.
As far as uplifting our education is concerned, it is unfortunate that we are moving rapidly towards negative ranking. May we know the reasons why we cannot rise and give shape to education in our state? We have adopted the New Education Policy but we are yet to bring out new books in the vernacular language which is essential for our students, especially at the lower primary level. Is our government expecting us to be mute spectators when we have understood what the fate of our children will be in the very near future? Shall we be satisfied with simply accepting the New Education Policy without any preparation for uplifting the status of education? Shall we remain satisfied with the existing situation indicating how we are diving lower by the day? I believe we need to put in extra effort to bring necessary changes that will restore our dignity and peace.
Right now, we are in a quandary as to who to elect as our MP for the upcoming Lok Sabha election 2024. The different candidates from different political parties are unable to create a good impression on the electorate. The central political party – BJP did not dare put up a fight but simply surrendered by extending its support to another national political party – the NPP which is the ruling party in Meghalaya. For sure, there is a hidden agenda in such actions of the BJP. The NPP candidate from Tura constituency openly supported the enactment of CAA in Parliament, which is believed to be detrimental to our state. The candidate of the same party from Shillong parliamentary constituency is in no position to oppose the CAA so her chance of winning is slim even after NPP is supported by BJP. This political game for the Shillong Parliamentary seat is very complex leaving more scope for the regional parties to win. Hence very good calculation needs to be done before putting up candidates for the election.
What I believe is that we can have peace only when there is all round development in our state. For sure development is the key to peace and freedom from insurgency. Now with the off-shoot of new militant outfits and posts offered to young people to join at an attractive salary there could be a spike in insurgency yet again. Young people of our state are frustrated due to unemployment (arising out of under-development) so they feel encouraged to join new insurgent groups which results in a climate of insecurity and instability of governance in our state. Meghalaya is very poor in all human development indicators (HDI) like education, health, agriculture etc. It is also one of the poorest states with no adequate infrastructure for tourism, etc. As expected, the ranking of our state is at the top only in corruption, unemployment, dirtiness of our rivers, traffic jams etc. Only if there’s improvement in all spheres mentioned above can we be assured of living a peaceful life in our state
Yours etc.,
Louis Pyngrope
(Retd HOD Physics,
Lady Keane College)
Via email


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