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Govt promises road, woman ends hunger strike

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SHILLONG, June 11: Bindas Syiem ended her six-day hunger strike on Tuesday after Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong assured her that the dilapidated Nongpoh-Umden-Sonapur Road in Ri-Bhoi district would be constructed this year.
Syiem began her stir on June 6, demanding immediate government action on the matter.
Tynsong had invited her for talks on Tuesday wherein he explained that the project was prioritised during the last term of the MDA government and included in the list of World Bank projects. However, the high cost earmarked by the World Bank delayed its implementation.
In March, a proposal for a 20-km road from Nongpoh to Umden was submitted to the central government through the North Eastern Council, with an estimated cost of Rs 51-52 crore.
Leaders of various NGOs and officials, including Additional Chief Secretary Shakeel Ahammed, besides Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem and Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council MDC Balajied Ranee joined Syiem during the meeting with the Deputy CM.
The Public Works Department has decided to immediately upgrade the Nongpoh-Umden-Sonapur Road under NESIDS (Roads) and PMGSY-III. PWD Secretary KK Mawa stated that the upgrade, estimated at Rs 52 crore, includes earthwork, subgrade, protection works, construction of CC drains and pipe culverts, pavement works, and road safety measures.
The Ministry of DoNER prioritised the 20 km stretch in their March 2024 budget allocation, but the project was delayed by Lok Sabha elections and the model code of conduct. The Detailed Project Report is under preparation and will be sent to the Planning Department by the end of June.
Extensions from Umden to Byrnihat and its surrounding villages, approximately 39 km in length, have also been proposed under PMGSY-III, with an estimated amount of Rs 50.95 crore. The proposal has been uploaded onto the Online Management, Monitoring and Accounting System of PMGSY.
The empowered committee under the Ministry of Rural Development is expected to sanction the scheme shortly. These projects are expected to be taken up within this year.
MHRC notice to EKH SP
The Meghalaya Human Rights Commission has directed East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police Rituraj Ravi to appear in person before it on June 20.  The Commission has also called for a detailed report from the Director General of Police into the June 9 incident at the Additional Secretariat parking lot where Bindas Syiem was staging a peaceful hunger strike.
The direction came after an advocate of the High Court of Meghalaya, Enlang Sawian, lodged a complaint with the Meghalaya State Commission for Women and MHRC against the SP.
It was alleged in the complaint that on the night of June 9, a group of heavily armed male police officers from the Special Operation Team, led by Ravi, allegedly in an inebriated state, forcefully entered the protest site. This action was taken without the presence of a female police officer or an Executive Magistrate, which is mandated by law.
Sawian claimed that the police intended to forcibly remove Syiem from her protest site on the pretext of taking her for a medical checkup, without her consent. The intervention was thwarted by her supporters, who argued against taking Syiem for a medical test without a female police officer present.

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