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Superstition prevents beneficiaries from availing govt schemes

Admin, church come to rescue Lynshing villagers

SHILLONG: The development activities in the village of Lynshing under Mawkynrew Block, East Khasi Hills, were crippled after some superstitious locals refused to undertake Government schemes.
Speaking to reporters on Friday after the special awareness programme organised by the office of Block Development Officer, Mawkynrew Block, the Sordar of Lynshing village, Raison Nongrum said, “As a village, we are facing many challenges that stem from the refusal of the people to be part of the developmental activities of the government and the village.”
Nongrum said they do not want to be part of the society as they believe that the end of the world is near. Their very action has crippled the development process in the village and there are people who do not want to work the 100 days’ scheme (MGNREGS) also.
He also pointed to the resistance to Measles-Rubella vaccination by the villagers and rejection of ration cards and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
“There are about 900 voters in the village while more than 200 did not turn up to vote. After some ‘research’, it was found that locals were made to believe that the EVM machine was linked with Aadhar,” the Sordar said.
People do not approach banks too as they were told ‘by outsiders’ to shun government schemes as the banks are linked with Aadhar.
“There are 255 job card holders and over 150 participated but not everyone rejected the 100 days’ scheme as there are some who shifted to other works,” Nongrum said.
To counter the teachings of the people from outside the village who preached against the schemes of the government, he said the three Churches, two Presbyterian Churches and a Catholic Church are coming together to enlighten the people about the government schemes.
“From time to time, we provided counseling urging the people to cooperate. There was a time when they refused, however, some came back,” he added.
He further informed there are 300 households and about 20 households have refused to accept government schemes.
Meanwhile, BDO of Mawkynrew Block, L.T. Tariang, said from the records it was found that out of 66 Village Employment Councils (VECs), there are around 8 VECs that are not functioning well as the locals are scared to move ahead with government schemes.
“We have held this campaign from village to village and we are getting 100 per cent of the villages to be active and we are waiting for Lynshing. This is the final campaign to fight against some teachings asking the people to shun government schemes,” he said.
The work orders for MGNREGS at Lynshing were distributed while only the implementation part remains. There are job card holders from Lynshing, Jongksha, Wah Layngdoh and others who reportedly refused to work and with the awareness conducted, the MGNREGS scheme has started, he informed.
Apart from the 100 days’ scheme, some residents refused to take the PMAY and IAY schemes.
Through awareness programme, the BDO expressed hope that the people will change the mindset and get their children vaccinated and schemes of the government can be rolled out.
“With regard to ration cards, there were some locals who returned the cards and after the awareness campaign the same people came back in search of the ration cards asserting they were ‘misled’,” Tariang said.
When asked, he said the people retracted from taking government schemes after Aadhar scheme surfaced and people even refused to vote as they are afraid to touch the EMV machine and they had used sticks to press the button.
Reporters also spoke to some people who at first refused to take government schemes but now are availing the benefits. Jennifer Lynshiang said she refused to take ration rice or work under MGNREGS but later turned back to be a beneficiary of the government schemes.
Pervious Bina said preachers from outside the village asked the people not to take government schemes and she fell for it and did not take ration rice at first.
“I have started taking up MGNREGS work again. Now I understand, we have to be ready and alert on our own for the Lord’s coming,” she said adding that there were teachings about Aadhar number.
She was counseled not to vote as there was Aadhar number linked with the EVM, however, she went to vote in the evening.

Programme manager of World Vision, S. Haokip said the people should cooperate with government department and NGOs for development.’
“Go to the Bible and know the truth and know the word of God accurately,” he said. Also speaking at the programme, BDO of Mawkynrew said special awareness programme is conducted as there is a need for change in the village.
“Development is not only in terms of infrastructure but development should bring a change in mindset,” he said.
“At times, the people are engulfed by fear. They do not want to take schemes from the government. It is not a scheme of the government but scheme of the public. We have to have a sense of ownership ……our village, our roads,” Tariang said.
Stating that knowledge is important, he said fear psychosis reigns in the absence of little knowledge, adding “It is difficult to bring a change where there is much darkness.”
Director of Health Service (DHS) (MI), T.S Nongkhlaw spoke in Biblical context and said the people should not disobey the administration. “Injections are administered to fight against various kinds of diseases and infections,” he said while referring to the locals’ resistance to Measles-Rubella injection.

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