The state of Meghalaya turns 40 on January 21,2012. It is indeed a jubilant event. Demand for separate State was reiterated through non-violent direct action. The first mammoth public “hartal” was called on October 24, 1960 at Fire Brigade Ground, Laitumkhrah. From then on, except in 1962 because of Chinese aggression, subsequent public “hartals” were held on the same date.
Seeing the spontaneous unity of the tribals, who are basically freedom loving people and their perseverance for about a decade and a half, the than Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during her visit to Shillong on December 27, 1966 announced at the same historic Fire Brigade Ground, Laitumkhrah for separation from Assam which culminated into an Autonomous State on April 2, 1970 and subsequently as a full-fledged State on January 21, 1972.
Today, after four decades, the authority wake-up to realize that the vexed issue of land row between Assam and Meghalaya seems to have had its root in the ‘North Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Act, 1971’ which also bestowed Meghalaya its statehood. Then everyone was rejoicing on attaining the statehood.
Yet another deficiency in the state is of not being able to become self sufficient when it comes to food production. Everything from rice to vegetables, eggs to castles and fishes, cloths to construction materials are all imported. The micro to cottage to small industries in the state are all struggling for survival either due to lack of finance or lack of modernized technology know how to simplify for mass production.
Marketing of products from Meghalaya is equal to nil. Be it privately manufactured or the governmental aided, last year General Manager of North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC) Limited, KCS Kurup, who was in the city to conduct a workshop on “Packaging of Processed Bamboo Shoots Products and Other Ethnic Foods for the Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs”, said Meghalaya’s contribution in the total quantity of export of food products from the entire North East is almost negligible.
Adding to the woes, the educated youth from Meghalaya in general and rural in particular, are migrating towards the urban cities for better prospects; abandoning the cultivated land to the old and outdated methods of farming and cultivation. How can one expect to increase the food production?
Also in forty years we had as many as 20 governments, meaning an average of two years term. Salseng C Marak is the only Chief Minister to have completed one full term for five years (February 2, 19, 1993 – March 9, 1998).
Meghalaya is going to poll next year, it is time for each and every individual to groom the state and hold political leaders accountable in ensuring transparency in the implementation of schemes. We have another 10 years till we celebrate our golden jubilee. Let us not look back to the wasted 39 years.
From this day forward, let us be vigilant regarding scheme implementation as it is the public who voted our leaders into power and not the other way around.
The manifesto of all the political parties also must focus on the Golden jubilee year of Meghalaya. Let us be self- sufficient and project to the world ‘Glorious Meghalaya’; we have just two more term of the state Assembly.
So from this upcoming general election let every individual participate in exercising their franchises so that we can get the government with vision and mission to take Meghalaya towards the 50th anniversary. As of now, Happy Meghalaya Day 2012 to everyone.