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Meghalaya villagers seek Bangladesh help for road construction
Image Credit: Pixabay

Meghalaya villagers seek Bangladesh help for road construction

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 01 Jul 2020, 10:46 am

Shillong/UNI: Irate residents of four villages along the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district have decided to seek assistance from the Bangladesh government to construct commutable roads in their villages.

The residents of Hingaria, Huroi, Lahalein and Lejri villages have been running from pillar to post to draw the attention of the state government to construct and build the road, however both the Meghalaya and Central governments have not taken any note of it.

“The people are frustrated and tired. Recently, public meetings have been held in the villages to discuss our course of action, given the fact that the government is not serious enough to build the road for us. We have unanimously decided that it is better for the government to give the four villages and its 5000 plus population to Bangladesh if the government is not willing to construct the road for us," said Kynjaimon Amse, spokesperson of the four villages.

"The people have also decided that the four villages will write to the Government of Bangladesh to request for construction of the road for us since the Government of India and Government of Meghalaya have failed to understand our problems,” he said.

Amse said the deplorable road condition in the four villages, which have population of more than 5000,  have been brought to the notice of all government functionaries, including the Prime Minister, Governor, Chief Minister Ministry of Home Affairs and many other offices of the Union government for intervention, but the government is still least bothered to construct an all-weather road.

“Prima facie it is clear that the lives of the border population do not matter at all to the Government and we are being used just for votes. If the Centre really considers us as Indians and is serious about our problems, it should immediately address the road problem and interim measures should be taken up to ease the problem, failing which the people will have no choice but to take extreme steps," he said.

Highlighting the “pathetic and deplorable condition” of the Rymbai- Bataw-Borkhat-Sonapur Road, Amse narrated how the bad condition of the road has affected the livelihoods of the 5000 plus people who live in the four villages along the India-Bangladesh border.

The very existence of the people is threatened because of the economic and developmental issues which the villages face, and cited that there was no mobile connectivity, no proper medical facilities, which have “crippled the life of the people”.

“It has come to a point where the people have to rely on Bangladesh for their survival for the government is least interested in these border villages. The world may be facing lockdown for the first time but the people of the above stated border villages have been in lockdown since their existence as they are cut off without road and communication and no one knows what is going on in these villages,” Amse pointed out.

 “There have been instances where patients lost their lives because they did not reach the hospital on time. There are also reports that the people cross the border to reach Bangladesh for medical treatment. The farmers in the villages are the worst sufferers as they have to shed huge amount of money just for transporting the products to the nearest market and sometimes due to the bad condition of the road they have to sell their products at a very nominal rate to Bangladeshi traders,” he further revealed.

“Almost all the problems of the people in the villages are linked to the bad condition of the road, and we believe that unless the road problem is solved there can be no development and growth in the villages,” he iterated.

Stating that even after the matter has taken up by the Meghalaya High Court and National Human Rights Commission, he said the governments at both levels have been reluctant to the needs of the people. The proposal worth Rs 123 crore for construction of the road has been lying with the DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) Ministry since April 2019. However, till date the Ministry has not even discussed the proposal, hence the same is not approved.

“We have been writing to all concerned for speedy approval of the proposal, but again there has been no response and as such, the pain and suffering of the people continues. The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, when we met them, had assured that the project will be approved; however all the assurances have shown no result. It only seems that the State Government is not serious about the road and did not take up the matter with the DoNER Ministry for consideration,” Amse alleged.

“The people of the border villages are very angry and disappointed with the step-motherly attitude of the Government towards the 5000 plus population. The government has failed to understand the problems and suffering of the people. The absence of a proper road has in fact violated the very Fundamental Right to Life of the people and also the basic Human Rights. The present condition of the road is the root cause of all the problems and unless the road is constructed the lives of the people will be just like mere animal existence. The people are being remembered just during elections and not after that,” the spokesperson rued.