With elections round the corner, Meghalaya rolls development of a pretentious nature!


~~By Ibankyntiew Mawrie

SHILLONG, July 25, 2017: Development in Meghalaya is something people laugh about. Though, the words 'Progress and Development' do come out time and again, the sad thing is that, the assurances to lead the people into (Canaan –  promised land/prosperous Meghalaya) only comes out during seminars and workshops. They are merely reduced to a 'Development of a pretentious nature'. 

As is the trend in Meghalaya, few months before the Assembly elections, the state witnesses a spate of inauguration of projects, formation of blocks, unveiling of foundation stones and developmental works.

Why the sudden adrenaline rush to fulfil all the promises in a few months' time when the same could have been done in these past 4 years? This is definitely not a new thing in the state. It's an old age tradition which the politicians should not be proud of.

Pre-election tactics – is the best term for this luring approach of the government and politicians to woo the voters and to show them that "Hey look, the government is doing so many good things."

Lately the state has witnessed a lot of developmental work. From inauguration of a mall at Pynthormukhrah to creation of C&RD blocks, multi-facility centre in SWGH, footbridge over Dilni River in SWGH or high tension MePDCL electricity polls for public safety, RCC Water Tank for public distribution, public motorable road etc, Mission Football and the list continues.

Here is how a politician's mind works– "More inaugurations, more stone laying foundation ceremonies, more distribution = more votes".

But too long have they been able to fool the people, no more. The people are becoming smarter nowadays.

If one asks a minister about the spate of inaugurations, they would simply say "Development happens when it happens, work process is not fixed only before the elections."

Recently, Congress legislator and Urban Development Minister, Ronnie V Lyngdoh said that development is a continuous process which has been continuing since the last four years.

"It is not a fact that developmental works only takes place before the elections," said Ronnie.

On creation of new blocks, Lyngdoh said that in order to bifurcate the blocks a lot of work was needed to be done which could not have been completed overnight.

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"The creation of new block was not an easy task. It was a long process," Lyngdoh said adding that all these factors has to be ironed out before concluding that developmental works are done only before elections.

"It is not like the Chief Minister is on an inauguration spree. He has declared it all in the last budget session," he added.

When asked about the developmental work being taken up in and around Barik, Lyngdoh said that the area where the work is being done falls under the national Highway which has a clear guideline that states that the state government cannot take up any developmental work on the highway until and unless it has been sanctioned.

"It so happens that the sanction for the project came now," he added.

However, Lyngdoh's comments doesn't seem to appease the common people even as they expressed their discontentment over the pretentious attitude of the state government.

"Well, nothing surprising especially since we do things to fool the electorate. I call it the red ribbon, tea and biscuits politics! A lot of money is spent on these ghost programmes, but to no avail. I would have thought that our people were wiser to the wiles of the politicians and their lackeys in the government," said a senior citizen of Shillong and retired professor Anjan K Nath.

Another young man, Saul Lyngdoh has this to say "Their motive is just to fool our simple voters," and predicted that like every time, this time too, people will be fooled and the trend will continue.

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Meanwhile, NPP legislator and party spokesperson James Sangma observed that the spate of inaugurations and developmental work the congress government is carrying on is nothing more than a whitewash.

"Laying of foundation stone, inauguration sub-division, block is nothing surprising. It is expected as the chief minister tries to divert the attention of the public to hide his failures," said Sangma.

He further said that the truth of the matter is many of the foundation stone has remained a foundation stone only in the state.

"Look at Tura and Shillong medical college. Twenty five years since its inception South Garo Hills district a Ri-Bhoi has no district jail," he said adding that the administration should be brought closer to the people and Mukul believes in whitewash.

5 years ago, chief minister Dr Mukul Sangma announced his ambitious project of replicating Times Square in Polo, Shillong. But what he fails to realise is the fact that no matter how developed a city is, the state will remain under-developed if its villages aren't taken care of.

What is more important—Replicating Times Square in Polo or ensuring electric supply, quality education, economic equity, proper roads in villages which still reels in darkness.

So much for Shillong version of Times Square— The interesting thing is that the announcement was made many years ago, but the work (paper work) is being carried out at present. What timing!

Development doesn't happen by mere lip-services, it takes a real leader with a vision to actually turn those words into actions and not wait for the opportune moment to flash his intention or his works, because a public representative is bound to live by the rules and serves the common people as was agreed upon when he/she took the oath of secrecy and office.

(The writer can be reached at mawrie.iban@gmail.com)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles is that of the writer and not that of TNT-The Northeast Today