Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Govt should get its act together

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Editor,
I am writing to express my deep concern and frustration regarding the state of basic infrastructure, particularly the roads, in our region. The recent hunger strike by Bindas Syiem, an elderly resident of Umden shines a glaring spotlight on the gross negligence of the government towards the well-being and safety of its citizens.
Syiem’s desperate plea for the construction of the Nongpoh-Umden-Sonapur road is not just an individual’s outcry; it echoes the sentiments of an entire community tired of broken promises and crumbling infrastructure. Her bold act of protest, sitting outside the Secretariat, starving herself until her demands are met, speaks volumes about the severity of the issue at hand.
It is utterly shameful that elected representatives, who are entrusted with the responsibility of serving the people, have failed miserably in fulfilling their duties. Promises have been made, speeches have been delivered, but when it comes to action, there’s nothing but empty rhetoric and apathy.
The sorry state of the Nongpoh-Umden-Sonapur road is a testament to this neglect. Despite repeated appeals and meetings with authorities, including the Ri-Bhoi Deputy Commissioner and the Executive Engineer, PWD (Roads), no concrete steps have been taken to address the deteriorating condition of the road. Syiem’s refusal to meet the Deputy Chief Minister in-charge of PWD (Roads) highlights the sheer frustration and disillusionment of the public with the government’s lackadaisical attitude.
It is high time for the government to wake up from its slumber and prioritize the basic needs of its citizens. Access to safe and well-maintained roads is not a luxury; it is a fundamental right. The lives and livelihoods of thousands of people depend on them.
Therefore, I urge the concerned authorities to immediately take action to improve the Nongpoh-Umden-Sonapur road and other neglected infrastructure projects in our region. The people have suffered enough; it’s time for the government to deliver on its promises and restore our faith in democracy.
Yours etc.,
R Sarki
Shillong

Protest the lifeblood of democracy

Editor,
Bindas Syiem is a shining example of what civil society should be doing in a democracy. We have had enough examples of people moaning and grumbling inside their homes when things don’t work – when roads are eaten up by rain water immediately after being constructed – which is the norm in Meghalaya. We don’t have a thriving civil society that has a one-point agenda of demanding what is due to the public – namely roads, water supply, an efficient education system, uninterrupted power to name a few. For fifty years we have lived with substandard infrastructure. The rains and flash-floods have been blamed for the poor road conditions and the bridges being carried away by the floods. Recently we read of the collapse of the wall around the PA Sangma stadium in Tura for the second time. How can the people of Garo Hills tolerate such levels of corruption? They have to rise up in one voice and demand that the contractor/s be blacklisted and the work be given to some other contractors with a clean record and the contract must be given out in a transparent manner. There is too much lobbying and obfuscation in the award of contracts. The contractors do a sub-standard job because they have to shell out money to give to politicians, engineers, pressure groups et al. How can any development ever happen in this State?
When the political masters in the government are themselves so corrupt, how can they ever fight corruption? Meghalaya is on a downslide and this will continue because we the people have chosen to allow them to enrich themselves at our expense. I hope and pray that the action of Bindas Syiem will be a force multiplier and many more like her will come out to the streets to demand their rights from a system created to deliver the public good and not personal wealth accumulation.
Yours etc.,
Amelia Nongspung,
Via email

INTACH clarification

Editor,
Apropos of the report, “Govt’s ambitious Barik Complex project gets civil society red flag,” (ST June 7, 2024) I would like to clarify on a few points vis a vis the report.
The PWD complex at Barik Point was initially the barracks for the British and American GI’s during the Second World War, hence the name Barik which is the Khasi pronunciation for barracks. One would also notice that the structure of the buildings were designed as such. I feel all lovers of heritage buildings and properties are custodians of Old Shillong.
About two weeks ago, the Chief Minister along with various officials conducted a ground survey of the PWD Complex at Barik (video available at various social media sites). Having taken the views of the public and civil society into consideration, the Government has decided to retain the important heritage buildings at the PWD Complex, Barik Point and repurpose them to provide creative and constructive spaces for the public.
Yours etc.,
Dr Madeline Y Tham
Via email

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