SHILLONG, Dec 05: The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has been demanded to immediately issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the construction of the two-lane road projects in West and South West Khasi Hills Districts.
This demand has been made by traditional heads of as many as 32 villages of the area who have accused the KHADC of hindering the development of SWKH.
Coming together under the banner of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong Lai-Lyngdoh Area (SNSLA) have also threatened to approach the state government should the KHADC continue in ‘neglecting’ this demand.
“We strongly demand the CEM and his executive committee to speed up issuing the NOC to pave way for the construction of the two-lane road projects in the region,” Synjuk member Stanly Kharbani said while also informing that a memorandum in this regard has been submitted to the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the KHADC, PN Syiem.
He also said that if the KHADC fails to heed its demand, the Synjuk will pressurize the Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma to use the powers vested on the state government with regards to the land and revenue subject to ensure that permission is given for construction of the projects.
According to him, if Dr. Sangma and PN Syiem fail to ensure the start of the projects, both will equally be blamed for playing “politics” to block development from coming to the region.
Under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North East (SARDP-NE), the Central Government has sanctioned Rs 625 crore for construction of 78 km road from Nongstoin to Wahkaji (43km) and Wahkaji to Ranikor (35km).
However, the KHADC has kept in abeyance the granting of NOC for the two-lane projects after there was stiff opposition from anti-uranium groups which include the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU).
The anti-uranium groups have alleged that the two-lane road projects was to facilitate uranium mining in Mawthabah area, as it was reflected in a notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH).
In this backdrop, Kharbani said that the demand is a genuine one as the state government had already closed the subject of uranium mining in the state of Meghalaya by scrapping the decision taken earlier by the previous government.
“We expressed our appreciation to the state government under the leadership of Dr. Sangma for taking a bold decision to put an end to the issue of uranium mining,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that the state government had last year revoked the 2009 – Cabinet decision to lease land to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL).
On the decision of the KHADC to earmark funds of Rs 25 crore for repairing of the present single-lane roads in the region, Franklin Kharbani, who is the Secretary of the Association of Landowners along the proposed two-lane road projects, said that the Synjuk welcomed the decision of the KHADC.
“However since the uranium issue has come to an end, we would be more grateful to the KHADC if it considers issuing the NOC for construction of the two-lane road projects,” he said.
Franklin informed that there are around 100 land owners who are waiting for the release of the compensation, which the funds is already lying pending with the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
Meanwhile, the Synjuk has also slammed the public representatives of the region for failing to raise the issue which has affected the people of many villages due to absence of good roads.
“The local MLA, D Jyndiang and local MDC, LG Nongsiej, who is also chairman of the KHADC and a strong supporter of the CEM, should take responsibility on the plight faced by the people of the region,” Franklin said.