Shillong: Noted activist and Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) leader Angela Rangad on Monday protested in front of the state secretariat demanding that the Meghalaya government should immediately release the financial aid that was promised to the daily wagers and the marginalised sections amid the coronavirus-induced lockdowns.
Braving the incessant rain, Rangad sat in a corner outside the Secretariat gate and held placards to highlight the apathy of the government towards the “distressed” people of the state.
“Mr Conrad Sangma’s government…
… constantly lies
… is apathetic to people’s distress
… only knows to govern for its rich and corrupt cronies
… denies people’s rights in the midst of pandemic hardships
… is unaccountable,” read one of the placards.
Rangad said she was compelled to take the extreme step since the “government doesn’t understand that people are genuinely in distress”.
She said that the financial assistance which was promised to the daily wagers never reached them.
“The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has crushed everyone further, we are all in dire straits. How dare this government steal their money?” alleged Rangad.
Warning the government that this is the first step, Rangad said there is going to be a rally, dharna further to remind it of its “responsibility”.
Rangad’s peaceful protest left the police in a tight spot — they feared that it may soon turn into a law and order situation. The guards at the Secretariat had to eventually close the gates as Rangad refused to move from the premises.
Last year, the state government had announced an income support to daily wagers to help them through the lockdown during the first wave. As part of the Chief Minister’s Relief Against Wage Loss (CMRAWL), an amount of Rs 2,100 was to be given to taxi drivers, hawkers and domestic workers.
Rangad has alleged that after she followed up to see if the marginalised people received the financial assistance, she found out that they did not. She then filed an RTI which revealed that many people who had applied didn’t find their names on the list. Those whose names were on the list did not either get any money or received only Rs 700.
“The government is lying by saying that the account numbers were either incorrect or inactive,” said Rangad.
She further added that the current government is for the rich people and they have disdain for the poor.
“So, I will be here every day during office hours to remind the government of what it needs to do. The government has to immediately release that money that has been booked against the marginalised peoples’ names,” said Rangad.
Rangad has also demanded that the government should announce an economic stimulus package, because “it doesn’t help to just unlock now”.
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