Infrastructure deficit in Garo Hills? Road project remains in limbo for past 15 years

Infrastructure deficit in Garo Hills? Road project remains in limbo for past 15 years

TURA | AUG 20, 2020:

As many as 11 villages under the Rangsakona constituency under South West Garo Hills (SWGH) in Meghalaya have been asked to fend for themselves through an "extremely" unusable road that has been lying pending for over 15 years.

This turns out to be yet another case that shows the extremely poor condition of rural infrastructure in the Garo Hills region.

The road, as locals call it Dengnakpara Road, connects the villages of Chisegre, Asinagre, Dilnigre, Bongpara, Wakantagre, Jamanggre, Bongpara Nokat, Rongchadenggre, Grenggandi, Adugri, and Chibandagre.

This road has been under construction for the past 15 years and is as far from being completed.

A total of at least 5000 villagers have been affected by the "inaction" of authorities in ensuring timely construction with many accusing successive governments of red-tapism.

"What else can explain what we are suffering from? This is the only road that we use to connect to the AMPT road and the rest of the world. However, the road, even 15 years after it was started, has remained in limbo and is unusable in the monsoons. Why are we being punished for no fault of ours?" asked one of the residents, Trenithone Ch Marak, also the secretary of NPYF for SWGH.

Marak said that a similar bridge and road nearby which was sanctioned much later has already been completed and is now usable but they have had no such luck.

"Recently the timber bridge that was being used to commute broke but the PWD authorities are asking us to wait for the winter season to rework on it. The RCC bridge, which is its replacement has still not been completed since early 2015," added another villager.

Villagers have been scratching their heads over what they need to do to make people understand their plight.

The villagers said that they, however, did not give up hope and met their MLA, Zenith Sangma over the matter though he did not have any answers for them. Similar was the reply given by the NPP led government and those from the Public Work Department (PWD).

"Can you imagine trying to navigate this road when one of our women is in labour? It will kill either the woman or the child or maybe even both. Even walking along this excuse of a road is fraught with danger," added Marak.

According to the villagers, the authorities in question need to answer for the "criminal" delay in completing a road that could have helped more than 5000 people lead normal, complaint-free lives.

"This includes the MLA, the current government as well as the PWD. Their negligence has made our lives a living hell," said another resident.

The Congress MLA from Rangsakona, however, clarified on the matter stating that he had done his part in sanctioning the bridge and it was upon the current NPP led government to see its completion.

"This bridge cannot be done from my MLA scheme. I had done my bit in sanctioning the bridge worth over Rs. 14 crore. Now it is upon them (current government) to see its completion," said Zenith, when contacted on the issue.

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