Lack of infrastructural development driving visitors away from Meghalaya

Posted in May 2012

Thomas Lim

Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh observed that “One reason for its (Meghalaya) remaining stagnant and not moving forward is the lack of infrastructure, lack of airports, and lack of national highways.” He was in Meghalaya on Sunday as part of his four day visit to North Eastern Region (NER) and reviewed the law and order situation here. 
Singh also stressed that the region “deserve” the priority in view of the poor infrastructural development and presence of hostile international neighbors.
He might have raised the genuine deficiencies in the state, but who will bell the cat?  The state government is leaving no stone unturned in selling Meghalaya to outside states and countries. The Tourism Task Force had done their best to carry out the task they are assigned to perform. The entire seven districts of the state have been covered to identify tourist spots, and the requirement or improvement needed to make both the domestic and foreign tourist comfortable.
The ground reality, however, does not seem as simple as it is being reported in their findings, not because there are flaws in the project but because it does not cover up the participation at the grassroots level or the general public. In simple words, it lacks the participation of the public.
As the state government tries to improve the infrastructure, upgrading the existing tourists’ spots and providing basic necessities, after long deliberation and pulling of strings to generate finance, it is the general public who does not need even 24 hours to pull the same down by dismantling the same. Street lights are shot down just for vandals to practice their aim with stones and there are locations where even the electric posts have been uprooted. Sanitation is choked either with human waste or cigarette buds and used matchsticks and other un-dissolvable articles turning them un-useable.
The local habitants, especially from the tourist spots, have a fear-psychosis of being displaced or becoming unemployed from what little business they are having at present. Not willing to understand that, the progress of tourism will always bring in economical uplift either directly or indirectly linked to the tourism industry or hospitality and service industries.
On the other hand, the general public too needs to preserve and conserve what belongs to us and whatever the government implements. Therefore, we need to help in preserving and conserving them. It is really sad to note that Mawlynnong village which brings Meghalaya into the world map of tourism as Asia’s cleanest villages, witnesses our very own people who come for picnics leaving disposed items including broken beer bottles.
It is time for the general public to come out and help the state government to project our state as the next destination for tourism. This will never come to light leaving it to the state government alone as mass participation from the public is a must, starting from preserving and conserving what belongs to the state.
As a matter of fact, it is not only the tourism sector, all the government plans and policies need mass participation. Then and only will it be considered as successful. It is time for all to understand and welcome all development and an all out opposition at any government’s move or damaging government property is actually taking our state backward.
Mos for Home Affairs should remain in the state longer in order to feel the heart beat, then he will also add- lack of Civic Sense, introvert mindset, and apathy attitude towards others is one of the main factors responsible for lack of development, say opposes to any development. The mindset and broadmindedness is the must to develop any state.



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