All governments, regardless of party, always fix the roads before elections. They fixed roads in every election that should have been as thick as a mound by now. But the truth is that the first rain is always made of steel and it leaves potholes and damages the roads so much that within a month after the monsoon, vehicles have to move like turtles on roads. Potholes and stony paths. If a heavy downpour occurs, it is necessary to find out whether there was once a pucca road. What types of materials are used by contractors to repair roads? Why can’t ministers inspect the roads when they are fixed and punish those responsible for making the roads as thin as POTATO crisps? Is it 2021 and we have been voting for decades to return to the Stone Age? We are not moving forward. Has anyone noticed how old we are and nothing has changed?
With the exception of the highways, all roads leading to the main towns and villages in the Garo Hills are in a dilapidated condition. So far, no holistic development work has taken place in these 3/4 decades. Tura to me looks like the dumbest town with no good roads, sidewalks, flyovers, streetlights, drainage system, traffic lights, and proper waste management system. There have been no upgrades to the health care system and only one public hospital receives thousands of patients. Basic amenities like water and electricity are now a problem for all households. We have to organize them ourselves.
Now what’s the use of having leaders who don’t care about people? Let them repair any road before the elections; we are really not amused.
It’s the 21st century. I believe that darkness should not overwhelm us. The government must make serious efforts to resolve this power crisis in the state. Nothing is more shameful than the fact that we suffer power cuts every year at the Meghalaya. I think we are responsible for this ourselves. We have not learned at all about the hardships and the deep “economic downturn” resulting from energy poverty for over a decade. This only exposes our poverty of responsibility. We totally lack farsightedness and therefore the darkness always looks us straight in the eye. Unlike others, the entire student community suffers.
However, it is good that the government now takes into account both the criticisms and the suggestions. Of course, it is a valid decision on the part of the minister in power, James Sangma, to approach the center, (“After a shock of load shedding, James appealed to Delhi” .. ST, February 3, 2021) / I hope the Center will take the matter seriously. In view of the cumbersome unproductive MeECL, the government of Meghalaya, with assistance from Delhi, must now develop an ambitious plan and policy to restructure the power sector in the state. The digital age we are blessed with cannot work with candles and lanterns. Even phone calls do not go through during the long period of load shedding. Hopefully this fact will be enough to give a “shock” to our authorities concerned.
Public taken for a royal ride
The Shillong Times of March 3, 2021 reported the story about HYC’s request to keep the smart meter program on hold as part of the Meghalaya Electricity Distribution Sector Improvement Project. At first glance, it was thought to be just another coup from this lobby group, but upon reading the report, it turned out that the HYC of this body really touched the dirt and dug up an evil conspiracy by the MDA government to further plunder the public. The story revolves around the decision of the Ministry of Electricity / MeECL to install 2,07,015 smart meters in and around the city of Shillong with the ADB loan of Rs. 232 crores. With an approved tender, the cost would amount to around 10,000 rupees per meter. What is shocking is that in the rest of India the cost for similar meters is only Rs. 3000 each, which means consumers in Meghalaya would have to pay an extra Rs 7000 / – per meter compared to what other citizens of that country pay. This means an unexplained additional payment of Rs 144 crore coming from the pockets of consumers. No explanation as to why this overcharge for Meghalaya and we are therefore left to draw our own conclusions.
Let us not forget that the ADB has already sanctioned a loan of over Rs 232 crores for the project. The cost of implementing the project will be covered by this loan, which means that we, the people, will be taxed again for the repayment of this loan to the ADB. Now, there is no indication that the additional Rs 144 crore is intended to repay the loan. So where will those 144 crores go? At Rs 3000 per meter the supplier would have already taken into account his profit margin. Thus, the additional Rs 7000 per meter is simply used to facilitate a bribe to the bosses of the Power Department of the State. There is no other explanation. We learn that the NPP is putting up candidates for the West Bengal Assembly elections. This will require massive funding. It is now evident that this funding is designed to come out of our pockets but without our consent and permission. We will be robbed to facilitate the infantile political ambitions of the West Bengal nuclear power plant.
We have had enough of the scams this MDA government is generating with each passing day. The illegal scam in the mining and transportation of coal continues. There are rumors of a Covid 19 scam that have yet to be discovered. Now this multi-crore power scam has been discovered thanks to HYC. Everything this government touches stinks of corruption and underhand deals and the stench emanates from the top. The big NPP bosses try to brag and listen to the NPP chairman trying to defend his party is like listening to the childish chatter of a young offender. HYC needs public support on this particular issue of smart meters. The public must rise up to put an end to this daytime looting that is going through the electricity sector. This is top-notch corruption! We must raise hell! We need to educate the public! We must go to court! We need a CBI investigation into this sordid mess! We must stop this scam in its tracks!
Solve the traffic problem!
Shillong, as we all know, is packed and the number of vehicles has exploded. In fact, vehicles are increasing almost at the same rate as our population while the roads have remained the same. This causes traffic jams comparable to those in Mumbai or Kolkata. Cars stuck for hours together is now normal. A 15 minute ride now takes an hour to complete. Annoying traffic jams affect people from all walks of life. Students arrive late for their lessons while day workers pay the price. Although there is a proposal for a 4-lane road to Upper Shillong, it looks like the project will take another ten years or so. This is something that the common man should not put up with.
The government must address this issue as soon as possible and in the best possible way. The proposed cable car appears to be another government joke and will likely take 5 years or more to complete. We the public need assurance that the traffic problem will be resolved sooner rather than later. It is the only way people can trust the current government.
Reakor Shisha Kharkrang