Meghalaya- Development or discourse: Ignorance or Negligence


SHILLONG: Where elsewhere centre initiated schemes are becoming a backbone for development in the country and the Prime Minister is earning laurels for this worldwide implementation of many schemes, however, few of the much required schemes in Meghalaya still remains a heated discourse only.

Reasons may vary from being alert and careful to the non applicable of few laws in the 6th schedule areas, however the whack of the baton of underdevelopment is severely borne by the people-the rural folks in particular.

While, the state government, KHADC and NGO's are entangled in their elite wisdom over various issues, the general public remain clueless.

Be it the implementation of the National Food Security Mission under the National Food Security Act or the very new AADHAR project, the stage gets set for discourse and the motive of the schemes get delayed for sure and lost many a times.

"What is AADHAR card?" questioned Willmart Myrthong of Wieiloi, West Khasi Hills, when asked about his opinion on the issue further adding after a pause, "It's like an epic card. Citizenship."

It may be mentioned that the Meghalaya People Committee on Wednesday has decided to approach the Supreme Court over the lack of clarity in the implementation of Aadhar in the state stating that majority of the people in the rural areas are still unaware of basic meaning of Aadhar.

Similarly, Sordar of Mawrynkeneng, Peter Lawai, said that the people in his village are totally unaware of the basic meaning of AADHAR or other schemes like Food Security etc. "There has been no initiation on the part of the state government to make the people aware of such schemes," Lawai also said.

Schemes like Food security which seeks to empower the poor people is yet another scheme which is faced with opposition from various social organisations owing to the fact that the 2011 census as maintained by the government to identity the beneficiary, is inapplicable.

Another local headmen, Mawlai Iewrynghep Rangbah Shnong, KS Lyngdoh, who is also the vice president of Mawlai Town Dorbar said that at present, confusion dominates the scenario in as far as implementation of the food security Act and aadhar is concerned.

"Not everyone is an intellectual person. There are people who still don't know how to read and write and these are the people who are often swayed away by mere talks especially with people linking the aadhar number with spiritual being," Lyngdoh said adding that the government is duty bound to send officials with the basic know how on the matter, to spread awareness to the people.

Meanwhile, a young student from Shillong, Eric Marbaniang said "I don't know what food security act is, I don't know what Aadhar is, I don't know what do we benefit or lose out on these schemes simply because we are not made aware of such schemes. All I can see are media reports on the negative impact such schemes will have on the indigenous communities of Meghalaya if these schemes are fully implemented. But frankly, I don't really know how these schemes will benefit us."

Can any scheme thrive or be successful without the complete participation of the public? Or are just talks and discussions between the state government and the few pressure groups enough for the go ahead or not while the general public at the grassroots remains totally naive or blindly follow the pack.  Well that is something worth pondering about.

The social organisations observed that if a scheme is implemented without proper identification, the actual beneficiaries will be deprived of their rights owing to the migration of illegal immigrants to the state of Meghalaya in the absence of a proper mechanism to check influx. Which is yet another unsolved issue?

History stands testimony to the fact that like many other states Meghalaya is also a Pandora box of unsolved issues. The vexed Assam-Meghalaya boundary issue still remains unsolved with NGO's raising concerns, Government holding discussions with its counterpart while the border populace quietly enduring the problems triggered by the impasse. The state government's proper mechanism to check influx still remains a far cry.

Similarly, MUDA expansion and building byelaws depicts a grim picture of the relationship shared by the state government, KHADC and the public. Here again the public is put to the altar.

Opinions may vary. But, with all these and more the fate of many more government schemes or new initiative to benefit the public is atleast clear to be an unsolved discourse if not development in the state.

By Ibankyntiew Mawrie

(The opinion expressed in the article belong to the writer alone and TNT- The Northeast Today may or may not hold the same views)

Image: Representational image taken from the internet