State Govt paints a rosy picture, critics feel otherwise

Assessment of the year 2015 by prominent citizens, politicos

SHILLONG: While the state government has painted a rosy picture of Meghalaya in 2015, there are critics who pointed out that it was a year of chaos and slow governance when The Shillong Times spoke to some prominent personalities of the state as to how they analyze the state’s performance when Meghalaya bids adieu to 2015.
Chief Secretary PBO Warjri said, “The State has performed well, in fact three districts of the State have been given IT awards for their performance, however, people are entitled to their opinions as to whether the state has performed well or not.”
Warjri also mentioned that inspite of the financial crunch, the state is doing well.
Asked about whether there was any need of holding too many festivals when the state is facing financial crisis, Warjri said that holding of festivals in the State has made the people more aware of many possibilities that the various sectors in the state have to offer.
To a query on checking corruption aimed at transparent administration, the Chief Secretary said that action has been taken against the offenders to help the state improve in transparency and accountability.
On the other hand, Paul Lyngdoh, working president of the United Democratic Party, and member of the Opposition   Meghalaya People’s Front (MPF) has pointed out that the overall performance of the state is well below expectations, according to him “2015 can be termed as the year of chaos, confusion, confrontation and while looking at the Government there is lack of team spirit with no cohesion while members are fighting among themselves.”
According to Lyngdoh, the Government does not walk the talk, as there is a long gap between the promises and works while failure of the Government is evident for everyone to see.
He also alleged that lack of political will has contributed to the militancy problem which is thriving in one section of the state.
While commenting on the priorities of the Government, Lyngdoh said, “It is a false sense of priority, the state of affairs in the constituency of the Chief Advisor to the State Government (DD Lapang) – where the trauma center is not yet operational although the equipments were provided- this laxness goes to show the depths to which the State has sunk.”
On the delay in making Lokayukta functional which should have checked corruption, Lyngdoh said, “Appointments have deliberately been delayed and the reasons are best known to the Government, as of now there is no likelihood of improving the scenario to free the state from corruption, unless instruments of Lokayukta are given more teeth.”
According to Lyngdoh, the Government needs to regain the confidence of the people in the institution of democracy. He also pointed out, “The Assembly hardly meets and  this way the Government can get away with anything.”
Stressing the need for a strong voice, he viewed that NGOs should take a stand on important issues without taking into consideration of the character under scrutiny, “Credible NGOs should come forward and take active role in assessing the performance of the Government.”
Sharing his thoughts on how the year 2015 was for Meghalaya, former Home Minister RG Lyngdoh said that the year was not too bad for Meghalaya.
He however rued that traditional laws were not documented in writing which led to controversies besides the slugfest between the District Council and the Government surfaced   and the role of the district councils need to be properly demarcated
He also said that now it is a time for executives also to take the floor even as he said that three pending policies on youth, education and tourism must be finalized at the earliest.
Daniel Khyriem, president, Khasi Students’ Union said that there were many drawbacks in governance which should have been addressed by the Government in the year 2015.
He pointed out to the obstacles which stand in the way of providing quality education and overall development of the state, “There is disorder in handling education sector, be it the Kiang Nongbah College  issues, the Meghalaya Board of School Education paper leak mess and others,  whereas on  development front,  youths are in need of employment opportunities.”
The KSU leader also revealed that some youths are of the opinion that political backings are required to get jobs. We want the Government to clarify in this regard”, Khyriem said.
He also expressed disappointment over the ‘ghost schemes’ (which are never implemented) of the Government uncovered through RTI findings, which paralyzed development thereby affecting the people. It all happened due to the lack of political will, he added.
Similarly, Michael Syiem, RTI activist, maintained that people need to be more proactive, “People should question the Government instead of sitting at home and complaining.”
He further said that Lokayukta will take the Right to Information (RTI) mechanism forward where he cautioned that in the coming year, the activists will pressurize the Government to make way for Lokayukta which will “bring transparency in the functioning of the Government.”
With regard to the current financial  position  of the Government, he said, “The Government should prioritize its spending and it should be strictly on priority basis.”
Eminent educationist, MPR Lyngdoh said, “There is misunderstanding and confusion everywhere, if we take a look at the District Council and the State Government, it seems there are two parallel governments. Moreover, there are many problems on economic, social, and political fronts.”
While making a reference to the general elections to be scheduled in 2018, she said, “Many of the promises will remain undone as political will, which is important for execution of development works, is found lacking.”
She bemoaned the rise of unemployment, crimes, soaring prices of essential commodities that has affected the poor people, but she is optimistic that things will take a better turn in the next 5-10 years.
To a question on the poor performance of the Government , she asserted, “We must ensure that it should be a performing Government.”