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The Silent Crisis

 

By Aristotle Lyngdoh

Call it by any term or define it by any logic but the reality is true as rain water in summer or PHE water in winter piercing through PWD roads quietly down to the gravel and pebbles of the foundation of sustainability. Crisis in simple term is a situation without a solution, it occurs quietly unnoticed and in the long run it is more damaging and detrimental to democratic governance.

Such is the situation and the state of affairs in Meghalaya where progress is heading toward unfavorable development be it law and order, social development, financial affluence and many more. But in the absence of relevant Index Number such as Price Index, Consumer index, HDI (human development index), etc that can measure the changes taking place in the life of an individual, the impact of such negative development is hardly felt by the general public and less reflected except when that situation turns into an uproar and directly affects some aspect of our daily lives. Market Index Number is a sensitive indicator which responds directly and inversely towards any changes whether in government policy or political and social behavior, but since we are still far away from that standard, we will never understand what is good policy and what is bad.

There are plenty of reasons for this. It may be that the State’s statistical estimations are either unrealistic or exaggerated just to impress national expectations but never to serve as feedback for administrative strategy or to explain the status of our own development and growth. But even if it does, who cares for such negative development other than what affects them directly. In a dependent state like ours, where 90% of financial assistance is from the central government, the repercussion of such negative impact is designed to hit back at the centre while the attitude of the state government here is reduced to an opportunist manager who dares to exploit every resource in aberrance, devoid of moderate conscience.

Had the state possessed some form of autonomy in financial resources like other industrialized states in the country where revenue from multiple sectors is not constrained, then the reflection and reprehension against any negative development and decline would be felt. This would be riposted to the extent that paying income tax is no longer an issue under coercion but the pride of every individual just like in the earlier days when people contributed to the ‘Syiem’ to run the affairs of the ‘Hima’ in the form of ‘Ka Pynshok’.

Here and there people are grumbling and expressing dissatisfaction at the present condition but cannot express precisely about who to blame. Even those in governance and administration face conflicts of interest. Lack of coordination seems to confront everyone down to the lower ranks. Fund are being diverted from every Head of Accounts to Meghalaya Basin Development rendering development works in other departments bankrupts and paralyzing them, will not serve any purpose. Such arbitrary executive direction in financial matters is dictatorial in nature and very dangerous because it leaves other sectors deprived. Is there no other alternative to challenge this silent and unscrupulous looting? Here is a silent form of tyranny and should we allow it to continue? Where are those watchdogs of society?

The public too are fed up with frequent rallies and meetings, except those who are subsidized to attend, and this is the reason that insignificant organizers of various public meetings or rallies prefer Motphran as the venue because they are running out of supporters. The outcome from the recently held KHADC rally ‘Ka Dorbar bah’ (massive rally) at Polo ground with only few hundred supporters attending in spite of a wide and expensive publicity campaign clearly explains the sentiments of the people towards meaningless initiatives by public leaders. Going by this yardstick it may also be considered that the electorate has lost faith in the present Council and if election is held now, the ‘None of the above’ button in the voting machine will secure more votes than any prospective candidate. Another question that needs to be asked is the source of funding for such events and who benefits the most. As far as I know, only bus owners have benefitted from this programme because the cost of hiring busses for carrying the crowd is Rs.2000 per bus per locality within Shillong city (excluding those outside Shillong) but most of the busses had to return empty.

In the political arena all is not well within the government. Disgruntled dissidents are like cowards living in uncomfortable zones yet awaiting the day of deliverance which can only happen if fresh elections are held. But is there any hero here who can come out of that situation and maneuver an option that will lead to a fresh electoral battle? I am sure there is none; all are egocentric and will not give up their employment so easily until the end of the five year contract similar to the tribal MLAs of Manipur who are facing public boycott. They have been told to resign as public representatives but they are yet to comply to the demands of the electorate. Two and half years have elapsed without any significant and concrete development except confrontations, clashes of legislations or fulfilling High Court actions and direction.

Toppling any government these days is difficult because one has to deal with and overpower the barons of illiteracy. Then only change will happen!

The situation today is that local representatives from Garo Hills are reluctant to reside in their home town and were missing when calamity struck the region. In other districts like East Jaiñtia Hills, the overall situation is not conducive for normal living due to high rates of crimes since no robust steps are taken by the law enforcement agency. People are enslaved by a bleak future of uncertainty. But why don’t they raise questions and demand good governance from their legislators?

A simple order by the High Court has shaken every strata of governance; it has confused and shaken the traditional institutions to the point that those who attempt to champion their cause are facing sleepless nights. It is here that transition in local governance (I prefer local governance to traditional governance) should take place meaningfully to suit the needs of the future generation as well embracing wide spectrum of society with generosity and wisdom like European nations dealing with migrants in an effort to end the Syrian crisis.

Judging from every angle, I have one suggestion to make. If no significant development can happen in this term, then why waste so much public funds to cover the expenditures of more than one hundred legislators (MLAs & MDCs) and other jobless appointees? Is not a single person enough to handle the affairs of Meghalaya? It is ironic for me to refer to President’s Rule since a hope keeps resounding every day from patriotic Khasi songs played through loud speakers of every Dorbar Shnong and on vehicles for public mobilization.

 

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