Meghalaya| On 1st anniversary of MDA Govt, we take a look at ‘Challenges & Road ahead’


TNT ANALYSIS | SHILLONG | March 06, 2019:

It was just last year when the Congress government was overthrown from the seat of power paving the pay for the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance to form the government.

And exactly one year since the 'change of guard' in the state, Meghalaya has witnessed quite a few number of changes (both positive and negative).

A programme to celebrate the anniversary of the MDA coalition was held in Shillong on Wednesday whereby a report card highlighting the achievements and challenges of the government was released by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.



In the past one year, a lot of changes have been initiated in the agriculture department like creation of the Directorate of Food Processing, acknowledgement for being the Most Improved Small State in Agriculture, conceptualization of the first ever Farmers' Parliament besides others.

In the horticulture department, various missions were launched to take advantage of homegrown fruits and vegetables, creating a market for them and increasing their production like the Lakadong Turmeric Mission, Jackfruit Mission, Mushroom Mission and others.

Similarly, in the AH & V department, various programmes and missions were launched to meet the demand of the ever growing population of the state like the Meghalaya Milk Mission, strengthening of poultry farms and pig farms across the state.

In the Fisheries department, the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) 2.0 was launched is being implemented, the operationalisation of first modern hygienic fish market and first Aqua Park besides others.

In the education department, eleven Ekalvya Model Residential Schools have been sanctioned for construction with an investment of Rs 264 Crore, infrastructure of 117 Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools is being upgraded, ICT enabled teaching equipment has been installed in 36 schools, two existing colleges at Mawkyrwat and Nongtalang are being upgraded to model degree colleges and the most important achievement of all in this department is the implementation of the much awaited 'State Education policy'.

In the health department, Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS), Phase IV along with the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) was launched, a state-of-art diagnostic center is being set up at the Pauster Institute, Shillong, improved infrastructure and upgradation of health centres in various blocks in the state.


In the PWD department, four batches of works were sanctioned under PMGSY for the financial year 2018-19, the sanctioning of various road projects including 36 rural roads projects, two big projects- construction including MBT of Pynursla- Latangriwan Road towards Mawlynnong and up gradation of Mawsmai- Shella road upto Kynrem Falls, 44 schemes comprising of 40 road works covering a length of 269 KM and 4 bridge work, construction of 72 Km of new roads and 305 Rm of RCC bridges and blacktopping of 41 Km of Kutcha road.

Under PHE department, the government's report card highlighted the enhanced coverage in both urban and rural areas like supply of drinking water to fifty-five slipped back habitations during 2018- 19, implementation of Greater Shillong Water Supply Project (Phase-III), Greater Ampati Water Supply Scheme and Nongstoin Urban Water Supply Scheme and the approval of two major water supply schemes- Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme and Laying of new feeder mains under Tura Phase I and II Water Supply Scheme under North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS) with an investment of about Rs 60 Crore.

In the Urban Affairs department, the capital city of Shillong has finally been selected for the Smart City project of the Government of India after several attempts, under ADB funding, temporary landfill site is constructed at Marten, Shillong, construction of an additional landfill area of 8500 sq m and of a 170 TPD compost plant is underway and the inauguration of the state's first Interstate Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Tura.

In the power sector, different schemes were launched and implemented like the Saubhagya Scheme (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana), Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) and the scheme for Augmentation of the 132/33 kV Mawlai substation with an investment of INR 50 Crore has been approved under North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS).


Under Information Technology, the construction of the first phase of the Technology Park at Umsawli, New Shillong has begun, Meghalaya is selected as a pilot state for the implementation of Enterprise Architecture under the IndEA (India Enterprise Architecture) framework, besides others.

In the C&RD department, a community led landscape management project was launched where Village Natural Resource Management Councils and Executive Councils have been formed for implementation of the project. The state is also all set to achieve highest number of persondays (350 lakh) during the year 2018-19, 1,592 SHGs have been provided with the Community Investment Funds, more than 1000 women farmers (Mahila Kisan) have been trained besides others.

In the Entrepreneurship sector, the Chief Minister came up with an initiative to acknowledge the achievements of budding entrepreneurs through 'The Entrepreneur of the Month (EOTM) program'.

In the tourism sector, an infrastructure was inaugurated at Lake View and Orchid Lake Resort, Umiam under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for development of circuits in East Khasi Hills and Ribhoi Districts, financial assistance was provided for important state festivals like Nongkrem Dance, Wangala Dance and BehdeinKhlam, the launching of a Tourism Information System for online collection of statistics and others.

The Sports department assumed primary significance as the state is gearing to host the National Games 2022. The construction and development of football ground at Saitsnad, Mawlangwir, South West Khasi Hills District is underway besides other programmes.

Under the social welfare department, two years of pension for about 12,000 Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) was sanctioned under the Chief Minster's Social Assistance Scheme, Juvenile Home at Mawdiangdiang was commissioned in July 2018- 2 types of Observation Homes, 2 Special Home and 2 Shelter Homes have been identified separately for children, young boys and girls with total capacity of 400 in total and two Swadhar Grehs were sanctioned and are being run at Shillong and Nongpoh.


Other major Achievements:

  • Meghalaya assembly building project sanctioned at a cost INR 141 Crore.
  • North Eastern Council has released an amount of about INR 38 Crore for the implementation of various schemes during the year 2018-19.
  • Under the North Eastern Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS), INR. 175 Crore is being provided for six key infrastructure projects.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, has for the first time, sanctioned nine projects under the component Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Scheme at a cost of INR. 34 Crore.
  • INR 35 Crore was released under Article 275 (1).

"In one year, we have faced a lot of challenges but we have given our 100 per cent as a team. The bureaucrats as well as the cabinet ministers and all the partners of the MDA have worked meticulously to ensure that we take the state forward and there are many challenges but I can assure you that we are up to the challenges and we will work towards ensuring to achieve the goals that we have in mind. There are many things to look forward to and in the next one year, we will do our best to ensure that we will be able to fulfill the other promises and move forward in other sectors to take our state forward" ~~ Chief Minister Conrad Sangma


Job Creation: One major challenge confronting the country is job creation. Reports have come out that in the last one year, unemployment rate has gone up throughout the country. The chief minister has stated that with very single project that the government is doing is working towards economic development which ultimately will lead to job creation. "We have realised that in the coming years that means 5-10-15 years , the country and the Meghalaya also is going to see a huge inflow of young people that are going to come in to the job market."

Stating that the current unemployment rate in the state is below the national average, Conrad said that the issue here is off course and something has to be dealt with from different angle.

"Job creation is one of the main priority and we hope that all these actions that have been taken in the last one year will continue and we will be able to achieved and create more jobs for our young generations," said Conrad.

Law and Order: During the past one year, the state has witnessed one of the most violent clashes in the state which erupted out of a misunderstanding between two communities. The Shillong Violent which broke out in May 31 threw normal life out of gear for weeks with curfews being enforced, internet services being suspended and committees being set up.

"When you talk of law and order there is always situations that come up. We need to work towards ensuring that proper law and order is there. Luckily that in the last one year it has been quite stable but there were incidents of some violence here and there. The Home department is ensuring that these kinds of incidents do not happened," said Conrad.

Coal Mining: This issue which has been plaguing the state for years now took an ugly turn last year when two women activists were attacked by miscreants (suspected coal mafias) in East Jaintia Hills. Furthermore, the idea of covering up the prevailing situation in the state was blown when 15 miners were trapped inside a rat-hole mine in Ksan village last year, the bodies of many of whom are yet to be retrieved till date. This incident has revealed an open secret of the continuous practice of illegal coal mining in the state despite the NGT ban in 2014. However, the state government is determined to get the ban lifted.

"The mining tragedy that took place was something very unfortunate. It is an issue that the government is very concerned about. A committee has been set up in all the districts especially in those districts where coal mining is taking place and each of these district committees are headed by Deputy Commissioner. They have been asked to ensure regular checking incase of any complaints of illegal mining and to ensure that reports are being sent to the government regularly to ensure that nothing of this kind is taking place and take action against people if they find any illegal mining activities

"It is a challenge for us because the government is trying to balance it out between ecology and economy and also the overall environment safety. I think that aspect is important for us and we are trying towards it in ensuring that the economy and livelihood should not suffer while keeping in mind the environmental aspect," said the Chief Minister.

Education and Health: "We have challenges in the social sector in terms of education and health and these challenges have been there for the last many many years so it is not that these things have happened in the last 12 months," said Conrad adding that as a government, they are working towards improving those aspects.

"It will take time but I can assure you that our focuses are in these areas. We only hope that we can take these things forward and improve the situation at the grassroot level," he added.

Interstate-boundary dispute: This decade-long issue which has been dragged by state governments of both Meghalaya and Assam for far too long is yet to reach its cohesive conclusion. The recent clash in Umwali near Langpih, the West Khasi Hills has stirred up fresh controversies as NGOs demand an immediate solution to this vexed issue.

"One area of concern is the border dispute. The government is aware and is concerned about the boundary dispute with Assam. This is an issue that has been there from the past. What is important to see is the safety of our people. No matter what the issue is, no matter what kind of complications are there, it should not be affected. People in the border areas should get the safety and also the development like in any other parts of the state irrespective of the claims that are being made by the two states. Both the governments are always in dialogues and discussions at the official and non-official levels. This is not an easy issue and it is a little complicated. We will take time but discussions are on but the priority is to ensure safety of the people and development should not be affected," cited the Chief Minister.

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