EJH border villages cry for basic amenities

SHILLONG: Hinguria, Huroi, Lailong, Baskuna and Lejri are at 20-minute walking distance from Bangladesh. But the distance is more than 40 km from NH-44 in Meghalaya.
These lesser known villages are located in the remotest part of East Jaintia Hills where locals use Bangladeshi and Indian currency for transactions, goods are bought from Bangladesh and to ease their communication trouble they use the neighbouring country’s mobile network connection.
However, as it is the case with all remote areas in the State, the five villages are confronted with abysmal road conditions. Adding to their woes is the non-existence of power and water supply, and appalling healthcare with no PHC or hospital in the localities.
The plight of these villagers were narrated to reporters during a press conference here on Monday, by a group of disgruntled young students from the villages studying in Shillong who are weary of the crisis faced by the villages and the empty promises made by representatives who would visit the village during election campaigns.
Kynjaimon Amse, a law student studying at NEHU, said, “We want better roads as the road that connects these villages with NH-44 is pathetic and in bad shape marked with potholes and mud.”
Speaking of the medical emergency, he said patients lose their lives in their attempt to negotiate the bad road conditions. Stating that forest clearance is needed to clear some10-20 trees to pave way for roads, Amse said, “We have to move from pillar to post for this matter. If forests can be cleared to make way for industries to be set up, why not clear some trees for better connectivity which is for a good purpose.”
Informing that they have petitioned the PMO in which it replied by forwarding the petition to the Public Grievances department, Personnel & A.R (A) Department, Chief Secretary of the state and other departments which include PHE, PWD, Health, Border Areas Department directing them to take necessary actions.
However, Amse said, “It has been eight months but the departments have not taken any necessary action. They send letters from one department to the other.”
“We will approach the Chief Secretary after two weeks and wait for a few months and if the state government fails to take any action, we are compelled to file a petition at the Meghalaya High Court,” he added.
When asked whether border fencing will have a bearing on their current dependency on Bangladesh, he said after fencing people will face problem.
On the hollowed promises made by the representatives, Amse said, “We get assurances but no solutions. We only have an epic card. Given the chance we will boycott the elections.”
The five villages have a population of over 5,000.

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