SHILLONG, Dec 04: Slamming the state government which they are holding responsible for bad road connectivity in Meghalaya, a conglomeration of social activists have announced the launch of the ‘Bad Road Festival’ of Meghalaya here on Monday.
Spearheaded by the Civil Society Women’s Organization (CSWO), the Peoples’ Mission and concerned citizens of the state, this festival has been envisioned after observing that proper road construction in rural areas is neglected entirely by the PWD (Roads and Bridges) department of the state of Meghalaya, according to CSWO president, Agnes Kharshiing.
“This neglect has left public in despair and many lives too were lost due to criminal negligence of Government servants, who, though drawing their pay to serve everyone equally yet ignore the people especially in the rural areas,” she said.
She said that in East Jaintia Hills falling under the Khliehriat C&RD Block the road is a source of trauma for the inhabitants of the villages of Hingaria, Huroi , Lejri, and Lailong and the CSWO has been informed that at least three lives were lost along this road, as pregnant women who were taken to nearest Hospital Jowai, which is 100 kms died on the way as it takes more than 5 hours to reach the hospital.
She alleged that the deaths were caused by the bad road condition which led to delay in reaching the hospital.
On visiting some of the roads the CSWO has also noticed that the roads are left unattended by the Department, and literally ignored by officials and representatives.
In East Khasi Hills District, under the Mawkynrew Constituency and Mawkynrew C & RD Block, a PMGSY Road which was given to Rocky Dhar (brother of former minister Sniawbhalang Dhar) for construction from 2014 is still in an incomplete condition, where even the width is compromised and not as per specifications.
She said the Village of RngiBah is, till date, not accessible by road, but the PMGSY Signboard records “From Rngibah to Thangbnai” which is completely misleading.
According to her, the only road leading close to the village too is in a bad condition which was completely ignored by those paid to oversee the road conditions in these areas.
“The same is the situation all over the state where reports are coming in of bad road from West Garo Hills District, South Garo Hills District, West Khasi Hills District, Ri Bhoi District, South West Khasi Hills District, Plain belts of Garo Hills, East and West Jaintia Hills District, and people are left at the mercy of the officials of the PWD, who are meant to take care of the road conditions specifically. There are also pictures coming in of risky wooden bridges even along NH 62,” she said.
Karukol Bridge and Siju Road only way and in Baghmara NH 62. People risk through these wooden bridges for years together and this was the only means to ferry essential commodities.
In East Jaintia Hills District, Wahluri Bridge in Hingaria roads is also waiting disaster according to the villagers.
Kharshiing said it is also seen within Shillong area that there is a sudden repair of roads which is haphazardly done and heated tar is being transported in vans leaving the people in danger as the petrol is combustible and can explode anytime.
“The method of repair also does not meet the standards of maintenance work,” she said adding crores of rupees are pumped in for development but the only development one sees is the rise in the structures of people in governance.
“This neglect by Government servants amounts to a criminal negligence, breach of trust, misuse of public funds, cheating and the officials concerned should be booked and the office of the Chief Engineer Roads and Bridges, Office of the Chief Secretary of the State, as the authorities overlooking into governance in the State should be questioned as to why public have to time and again raise their voices when there is a government to look into all this proper governance and why they should not at all be booked for criminal negligence, breach of trust, misuse of public funds, cheating,” she said.
Meanwhile, the CSWO said it will start more campaigns to see governance in a democracy is carried out in the true spirit and people are not neglected by those in Governance or those representing them.