Meghalaya 47 – The Shillong Times

Meghalaya 47 – The Shillong Times

Meghalaya will full 47 years of statehood on January 21. The journey that began in 1972 beneath the steerage of visionary leaders and later steered by in a position progenies has not been a simple one. Breaking away from the mom state to determine an id was a mammoth activity. However Meghalaya did make its presence conspicuous each politically and in any other case.

From infrastructure, schooling, agriculture, social stability to healthcare, the small hill state with lower than a crore inhabitants has progressed immensely. Being one of many states with excessive literacy price, Meghalaya sends out its younger workforce throughout the nation and around the globe.

“Our children are making a mark in every field. They are being able to prove their worth because they have a strong educational background and it is something that we are proud of,” says Loscan R Lyngdoh, who was a part of the non-violent direct motion in 1968 as a younger scholar, whereas speaking concerning the state’s achievements through the years.

Actually, “if we talk about the state’s achievements, the biggest achievement was the statehood itself”, says senior politician Bindo Lanong as he turns the clock again by 47 years.

The statehood motion started in 1957 with the All Get together Hill Leaders Convention, a conglomeration of like-minded leaders, upping the ante towards the Assam authorities. Later, as Delhi steered autonomy, a number of leaders together with Hoping Stone Lyngdoh broke away from the confederation to type the Hill State Individuals’s Democratic Get together that refused to budge from the demand of full statehood. Inside a span of 15 years, the hill state achieved its objective.

Contemplating the dimensions and vulnerability of the indigenous teams within the state, doyens like Prof MN Majaw put in place the land switch act to safeguard the tribes from the onslaught of migration. This has come an extended option to not solely shield tribal land but in addition their id, tradition and language.

Through the years, Meghalaya has added many feathers to its cap and the achievements have come by means of dedication, innovation and improvisation.

Former legislator LC Momin, whose mother and father have been a part of the motion, says poverty and starvation and illiteracy have been widespread earlier than the statehood and the fledgling healthcare was the reason for a lot malaise. “But over the years, the state has shown improvement.”

The truth is, Meghalaya has made super progress in eradicating poverty. “I feel the greatest achievement of the state is in terms of poverty reduction,” says Commissioner and Secretary Sampath Kumar as he factors to a current Niti Ayog report the place Meghalaya was ranked fourth from the highest.

Kumar says MGNREGA, the agricultural employment scheme, has benefitted Meghalaya to an awesome extent and 90 per cent of the agricultural households are getting employment and extra incomes of round Rs 18,000 beneath the central scheme.

“The change cannot be attributed only to a pro-active administration but the village employment councils, or VECs. Meghalaya is the only state which has introduced this VEC structure and this has proved successful. The structure is a mix of traditional and modern structures and even women are part of the councils. Under the structure, people can decide what projects they want to work on as resources are coming to them directly… The money is also used optimally. During my tour of blocks and interaction with VEC members, I find that villagers are happy with the system. They say MGNREGA has brought 108 service to us as roads have improved,” Kumar elucidates.

One other achievement that Kumar lays emphasis on is the progressive concept of convergence of varied schemes. “The state has an institutional mechanism for facilitating convergence that no other state has. It expedites implementation of schemes… Departments are not just coming up with routine programmes but they are innovating and that is adding value,” he provides.

Meghalaya being an agrarian state has given a lot fillip to small-time farmers by introducing numerous missions. The authorities has additionally shaped an e-platform for consumers and sellers to trade concepts and plan tie-ups. There was a serious increase to natural farming and the state is anticipating to develop into utterly natural in one other two to 3 years with round 46,000 hectares of land being utilised for the aim.

The progress of rural Meghalaya may be a sign of a greater future. If the trajectory exhibits an upward development within the coming decade, one may also anticipate reverse migration.


Failures aplenty


Because the state basks within the glory of statehood and pats its again for 47 years of achievements, it shouldn’t overlook that the record of failures is longer. The largest failure, or one might say time-induced degradation, is the weakening management. A number of senior residents, who had witnessed or have been a part of the statehood motion, whom Sunday Shillong spoke to have been unanimous in stating the deplorable state of affairs.

Remembering previous leaders like BB Lyngdoh, Wickliffe Syiem, GG Swell and HS Lyngdoh amongst many others, Lanong, who was a part of the motion, says politics was “clean, simple and transparent”.

“Leaders then and leaders now are poles apart. In those days, leaders did not think about their wellbeing but about the constituents. Money-making was not in their minds. Even voters did not expect pecuniary favours from leaders. But today, it is all about money,” says the senior chief.

Lyngdoh, who’s now 72, echoes Lanong’s views. “There is a moral degradation not only among leaders but also the public. Nowadays, we pray to God for ourselves and not others. Selfishness rules over humanity,” he sounds dissatisfied.

The ignominy of getting a egocentric management through the years has been immense and impacted the picture of Meghalaya. Within the current state of affairs, the nation and the world is aware of the state by its unlawful mines the place violations of each type, together with human rights, are practised.

Corruption has grow to be an innate attribute of politicians and the numerous scams and delayed tasks are testimony to that. There isn’t a accountability and earlier than each election, politicians flip into saints with cash on their begging bowls to appease illiterate or half-literate voters.

Lyngdoh additionally rues the brief reminiscence of the individuals of Meghalaya. “Neither the politicians nor today’s youths bother to remember the great leaders who fought for the state. Prof Majaw was one of the visionaries who gave shape to the state. But no one acknowledges.”

Speaking about improvement, Lanong doesn’t sound impressed as he asserts that the successive governments have failed to make sure qualitative progress and deliverance has been poor. “What progress do we see? Healthcare, roads, education, everything has declined. In short, we have not got the development that we expected and that we were promised.”

Endro Iawphniaw, former MLA and HSPDP chief, rejects the thought of full statehood as a result of “Meghalaya is yet to become self-sufficient”.

“Yes we got statehood but this is not what we meant by full statehood. We still depend on the Centre for everything. Even after so many years, the state is on a wobbly ground on several counts,” says the 79-year-old chief who was actively a part of the motion.

Each Iawphniaw and Spiton Kharakor, who has authored a guide on the statehood motion, are satisfied that the state has failed in agriculture. They’re seconded by former chief secretary SK Tewari.

Chatting with Sunday Shillong on telephone from Lucknow, Tewari says the state must concentrate on clear business like meals processing as an alternative of cement and mining. “The diversity of fruits and crops in Meghalaya makes it a treasure trove. There are pineapples, jackfruit, cashew, ginger, oranges and any more. The state can develop a strong food processing industry and tap the northeastern markets and neighbouring Bangladesh. It does not even have to look at mainland for selling. But has there been any organised way of achieving it,” says Tewari.

Tewari says throughout his tenure in 2006 he had prompt advertising jackfruit, which was initially a imaginative and prescient adopted by Kerala. “Now the government has taken up the mission. More needs to be done to tap the natural resources. The cement factories in Meghalaya are not going to help the state. It is suicidal,” he provides.

A senior bureaucrat admits that glitches do exist in agricultural sector, crucial being tapping the market and organising farmers. “We are making efforts to achieve our goals. But there are challenges like connecting to the global market owing to poor connectivity. We need aggregators to bring farm produce together and institution building,” he says.


Progress pangs


Kharakor says the state has witnessed an “unplanned growth”, particularly within the city pockets, and lacks the imaginative and prescient of the previous leaders.

That’s seen from the enlargement of Shillong the place concrete progress has been senseless. There isn’t any city planning and regulation to limit the vertical progress.

The progress pangs could be felt on different fronts.

Momin says regardless of having a number of administrative models in all these years, “they have remained structures in skeletal forms only and have not been effective”.

Tourism, which is a serious income earner for the state, is but to realize full bloom, feels Momin. “Also, a lot is desired in the education sector. Shillong was the education hub of the North East and that glory needs to be restored,” says the 62-year-old chief.

Iawphniaw factors out the failures in different sectors like energy and industries. “There was never any attempt to make power from wind. The state should try to harness this. Also, private companies should have been encouraged to set up shop in the state by giving incentives. But nothing has been done so far,” he says.

“I would like to express my deepest disappointment at the state of affairs and it is disheartening to see that there is lack of attention,” says an exasperated Lanong, including that deep-rooted corruption has grow to be the rationale for weak governance and regulation and order issues because the center of 1980s.

Nevertheless, with all of the disappointments and despair, the sinking feeling is but to set in and veterans nonetheless hope for a change. “My only wish is to see a leadership that will selflessly work for the mass and inspire people to not only think about the community but also the state and the country as a whole,” Lyngdoh sounds assured that change will come.

Perhaps a younger management will script one other story and present the best way to emancipation. “We are hoping that the present government will ensure transparent governance and take the state to the pinnacle of growth,” Lanong says.


~ NM

Developmental trajectory: