Shillong is now ‘Manhattan’ and no longer ‘Scotland’ of the East: Charles Pyngrope

Shillong is now ‘Manhattan’ and no longer ‘Scotland’ of the East: Charles Pyngrope

By Our Reporter, TNT News | Shillong, April 05, 2018: 

The populated city of Shillong cluttered with buildings haphazardly constructed has turned this once green city into a concrete jungle and because of this, the city can no longer be called the ‘Scotland of the East’, rather it should be tagged ‘Manhattan of the East’, said former Speaker and Congress MLA from Nongthymmai, Charles Pyngrope on Thursday.

While debating on the Governor’s address on Thursday after the budget session of the state legislative assembly resumed following a 12-day recess, Pyngrope said “We don’t see grasses and fields everywhere now in Shillong. The city is filled with buildings. So it is only right to call Shillong the ‘Manhattan of the East’ and no more ‘Scotland of the East’.”

Drawing the members’ attention to the problems and menaces plaguing the city, Pyngrope said that the government should examine and take pro active steps in tackling the problem of traffic congestion, garbage disposal and use of plastic bags.

In his effort to vividly portray the once serene nature of Shillong city, the veteran Congress leader recalled the First Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Patel’s observation of Shillong where he had termed the city as a ‘place for the Gods to live in’ and also referred to legendary Khasi laureate U Soso Tham’s verse from his poem — Golden Grains (Ki Symboh Ksiar).

“Unfortunately, due to unsystematic disposal garbage, the beauty of Shillong is lost and the city is buried in a mountain of plastics. This problem needs to be addressed and plastic should be banned in Shillong; Many states have introduced the system of banning plastic bags and some have even succeeded. We have survived well without plastic in the past. We can still do it,” he said.

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He also suggested the government to place large garbage bins in all parts of the city as a temporary solution adding that the permanent solution is to ban the use of plastic bags all together.

Talking about the menace of traffic in the city, Pyngrope said traffic snarl in Shillong has become the order of the day and a time will come when walking on foot to our respective destinations will be preferred over driving.

He suggested the state government to adopt a system followed by all metropolitan cities including Guwahati by introducing school bus for all the schools. “In Laitumkhrah alone, there are 6 major schools with each having over 1500 students and each of them travel to school in their own respective vehicles thereby adding more wheels in the already congested roads. We have the infrastructure, if the government introduces school bus for each school, I feel there will be ease in traffic,”  he suggested adding that this is more convenient, time saving and cheaper.

Debate on Governor’s Address continues … 

Meanwhile, participating in the debate, NPP MLA from Phulbari SG Esmatur Mominin raised the issue relating to MGNREGA — its pros and cons and highlighted the plight of villagers living outside the purview of the bank or falling under unbank area. “We need to ensure that the legal rights of the people living outside the unbank area is not infringed through unscrupulous means,” he said.

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He also sought the government’s intervention into the connectivity sector in Garo Hills particularly that relating to the Agia-Medhipara-Phulbari-Tura road which has turned into a nightmare for many to the extend that people have even termed this road as ‘Wangala Dancing’ road or ‘Free Swimming Pool’ stretch in social media. He also revealed that during election campaigns, the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma refused to travel via this road to reach Phulbari and instead chose a chopper. Even the Leader of Opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma cancelled his trip to Phulbari during election campaigns. “Because of the dilapidated condition of this road, the then CM didn’t campaign in Phulbari and this of course went in my favour,” he said laughingly.

He also raised issues pertaining to health care services in Garo Hills and RTE Act which according to him should have been implemented in letter and spirit in the rural areas.

Participating in the debate, NPP MLA from Rongjeng Jim M Sangma has requested the state government to solve the problems faced by the Adhoc and Deficit teachers of Meghalaya and also urged the Chief Minister to upgrade the Rongjeng C & RD block to a civil sub division.

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Similarly, INC MLA from Mawsynram HM Shangpliang, who also took part in the debate, referred to various issues which were not mentioned in the Governor’s address. According to him, the governor failed to mention many pertinent issues like trade and commerce along the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya stretch and on the need to construct more border haats to enhance the economic condition of the border populace.

He also suggested the government to examine the suggestion to provide at least one Fire Engine for each police stations in the state especially in the rural areas. Come dry season, wind and storm is a normal phenomenon. There have been many cases of fire in the rural areas and by the time help comes, everything is reduced to ashes, he said.

He also raised other issues relating to the planning department, agriculture and horticulture department, Fishery department, Corporation department, education and the like.

Meanwhile, Congress legislator Zenith Sangma while taking part in the debate on the Governor’s Address said that it is pretty sad that in the name of giving water supply schemes, sometimes the source of the water is also not examined.

While making a clarion call for protecting water sources, he said that immediate steps must be taken or else there will be a huge water scarcity in the future.





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