Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The curious case of the ‘non-existent’ Saipung C&RD Block


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From Our Correspondent

SAIPUNG, May 15: The Saipung Community and Rural Development (C&RD) Block, inaugurated in 2001 with much fanfare, now is a witness to government neglect. Situated in Saipung, Meghalaya, the block’s purpose was to bridge the gap between the government and the remote communities. However, a recent visit to the supposed location reveals a shocking reality.
The Community and Rural Development Block does not exist, and for the sake of it, there are old buildings, which are in ruins, but without staff, no office furniture to be seen except the labourers engaged in constructing the new building.
Absentee students or absentee staff in offices or institutions have been heard of but an absentee Community and Rural Development Block, not common!
The Saipung C&RD block, which was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister EK Mawlong in 2001 is a ruined building with no staff.
The Block, inaugurated in the presence of HB Dann and ON Chyrmang, both the then ministers of Meghalaya, is in Saipung and exists only in papers. Unfortunately, the entire office operates from Latyrke.
The block is operating from Latyrke, a village near Sutnga, so now the residents from Saipung have to go to Latyrke to visit the ostensibly Saipung block.
All the buildings of the different departments in the village are in a dilapidated condition because they were not used, serving as another example of the wastage of government money. The two big buildings, supposed to be the office of the Block Development Officer, are in ruins and could collapse anytime.
The condition of the buildings also demonstrates the substandard quality of work in constructing them. The approach road to the BDO office is not accessible during summer and there the road has disappeared altogether.
Ironically, the block will be celebrating its silver jubilee next year but is not functioning from where it is supposed to function, denying the people of Saipung area their right to access government services.
The people who live in the Saipung continue to be at the receiving end of development as the government has not been able to provide the people with their basic needs. The only PHC in the area is managed by Karuna Trust on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode with no proper water supply even to the PHC.
There are three high schools that cater to the students from the 29 Biate villages in the area, and there is no higher secondary in the area till today. There is only one road, in a very bad shape which connects all the Biate villages to the rest of the state.
It took this scribe three hours to travel 30 kilometers to Saipung. During summer, only four-wheelers can travel to the region.
Lal Niam Nampui Waheh Chnong of Saipung mentioned that the supply of electricity to the area is also erratic and people have to rely on solar light for backup.
Dr Dilip Kumar, who is a physician at the PHC, said they have to rely on solar power to ensure that their vaccines are refrigerated. There is no government water supply, and the JJM in the different villages in the region is yet to be made operational.
The question is, how can the government start a new C&RD block in the state when it cannot even make the existing one operational?


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