TURA, July 14: Adding to the already growing opposition to the construction of a railway network into the Khasi Hills region, the Association of Democracy and Empowerment (ADE), Garo Hills has put its weight behind the protest against the upcoming rail connectivity to the region.
In a release issued on Friday, the NGO extended its support to the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and other organizations protesting against the construction of the railway project. The NGO also cited the example of the Mendipathar railway station which they stated had done nothing to help the region grow but only brought in more crime.
“The so called fully functional Mendipathar Railway Station near Assam border has contributed nothing but a single passenger train which runs between Mendipathar to Guwahati and vice versa. People of the entire Garo Hills region, except the nearby areas, couldn’t avail its services due to the unreasonable timing of its operation. However we have seen increase in crimes like abduction, sexual harassment and theft,” said the ADE.
Hitting out at the government’s stance on the matter the NGO said, “We strongly condemn the high handed stance of the government towards the protesters. This arrogance of the administration can never achieve a fruitful outcome as we all know disagreements can only be resolved through deliberate discussions.”
ADE further urged the government to understand the real concerns behind the protest.
“We recognize the revolutionary leap in transportation that can be achieved through railway connectivity around the state for the common people but our concerns are also about the collateral damage these projects could cause to the ethnic people of the state. As a matter of fact the state is now going through a very critical phase of ethnicity crisis due to heavy influx especially along the border areas,” added the ADE.
The NGO feels that influx will pose a huge problem for the state if railway networks were to enter the state – a problem that the NGO along with many others from the state have been fighting to control for a long time.
“ADE with other NGOs is fighting for a comprehensive mechanism to check influx, like the Inner Line Permit (ILP), for a very long time. In the previous years, we had several rounds of talks with the authorities and we were assured of an all inclusive mechanism namely influx check gate, registration of tourists or skilled or unskilled labors and, will be implemented along the border areas but nothing has been done on the ground since then, so people have lost their faith on empty promises,” asserted the NGO while also asking the government to abandon its myopic vision for the sake of the state.