The India Today group does an annual ranking of states based on their performance on some key areas of development. Meghalaya ranks 35th out of 36 states in total fertility rate with the last one being Bihar. Meghalaya’s high fertility rate is a cause of concern as resources do not match its population growth. But there are other indicators as well which put Meghalaya in the last or second last rung of the ladder. It is surprising that even in Tourism which is a much touted term in Meghalaya, the state ranks last. Tourism is not ranked by the spectacular sights and sounds that tourists visit but by their experiences at the time of their visit; the kind of hospitality offered and whether they are getting value for money. Much of what is happening in the tourism sector today is a private venture. The state government is expected to provide quality roads and connectivity to the tourist spots amongst other facilities. But the road leading to Laitlum, a tourist spot popularized by the movie Rock On 2 and which today is a much visited destination, is back-breaking to say the least. The road condition to Mawlynnong and beyond to Dawki is pathetic. No one is really bothered about the state of the roads. There is not even a competition among the MLAs to makes the roads in their constituency the best.
Meghalaya ranks poorly among the ten small states picked up by the India Today- Nielsen survey. It ranks last or second last in health, infrastructure, education, tourism et al. Interestingly, while Meghalaya has several projects that are hanging fire, lately there are a series of foundation stone laying ceremonies without any explanation as to where the money for these new projects is going to come from; the timeline within which they will be completed and the cost at which they will finally be completed. This election gimmick unfortunately continues to fool the voters. Remember the plethora of MOUs signed with various power companies before the 2008 elections? Has a single project been completed? Not that we know of, and yet we continue to clap each time the chief minister or his colleagues lay a foundation stone, which is happening nearly every day until the election date is announced. It’s time to call the bluff!