Meghalaya: Jaintia National Council opposes railway link

Guwahati: The Jaiñtia National Council (JNC) on Monday expressed resentment against the Meghalaya government and opposed railway projects in East Jaiñtia Hills District.

An official update from its president CEC Sambormi Lyngdoh stated that the Jaiñtia Hills District Autonomous Council (JHADC) has not prevented trading by outsiders in Jaiñtia Hills nor were the Dorbar Shnong vested with full authority by the state or ADC to tackle the influx.

“If the railway is implemented, there will be a large number of outsiders who will flee to our Hills. Therefore, as a sixth schedule area residents, we have our rights to protest the projects and the so-called development. In present times, there’s no railway but people still face problems when it comes to local business,” the JNC said.

The council said that railway projects will affect the rural areas, forests, hills, water and lakes as the locals still depend on nature.

East Jaiñtia Hills District, they said, is one of the districts that has the highest number of factories, and the addition of the railway connectivity will benefit only the factories. “The question is what about our local traders and truckers,” they asked.

An important point, JNC said, is that the railways will not only bring goods and materials but will benefit only the outsiders. “Illegal settlers will arise, mixed marriage will take place specially the rural areas, as of now it is also growing. We strongly believe it (will) create big problems as we still hold on to our own culture and identity. What will happen to our next generation?” the JNC said.

The JNC also urged the cabinet ministers from Jaiñtia to highlight this issue in the cabinet and point out the issues of development in the East Jaiñtia Hills District, from the construction of road to the non- functional government schools, bad condition of the Government hospital, demand for a government college in a district and so on, rather than talking about the railway.

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“The council would also like to question if the Government has crores on railway projects why not Government College? Two abandoned residential schools in a district what do you think about that?” they questioned.

Further, the JNC said that the council is “ready to do whatever or to face at any cost if the Government fails to stop dreaming of the issue of railway projects in East Jaiñtia Hills District”.

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