Social activist demands probe into eco-tourism projects

Shillong, Dec 6: Social activist Cherian Momin has sought an inquiry into the manner in which funds were spent for eco-tourism projects in East and West Garo Hills.
“The Niksamso Garo Community Organization (NGCO) had exposed a serious discrepancy in the allocation and utilization of funds for eco-tourism projects in East and West Garo Hills”, Cherian said.
NGCO president, Tengrak B Marak and  Cherian wanted a probe into the alleged mismanagement of public funds.
The NGCO’s findings indicate that Rs 14.39 crore was sanctioned for eco-tourism projects in East Garo Hills. Disturbingly, despite being marked as complete on paper, these projects stand abandoned, with nature reclaiming the sites. Evidence, including a video showcasing the neglected Gittokgre Eco Tourism site, has been presented, raising significant concerns about the lack of progress in vital community projects.
“Of particular concern is NGCO’s claim that, despite projects being left incomplete, the entire allocated amount of Rs 13.61 crore has already been withdrawn. Cherian, expressing deep concern as a citizen and social activist, emphasized the need for accountability and condemned the apparent mismanagement of funds. “This situation is unacceptable. Depriving the people of the Centre’s projects is condemnable, and those responsible for this illegal act must be held accountable,” Cherian said.
In West Garo Hills, similar incomplete projects in Gambagre, Bolsalgre, and Damalgre have prompted NGCO to issue a legal notice. The NGO, which meticulously reviewed the status of projects across all 9 destinations, highlighted the discrepancy between the incomplete nature of the projects and the premature withdrawal of Rs 13.61 crore meant for their completion.
Cherian, echoing the sentiments of NGCO, has urged immediate action to root out corruption and ensure that those responsible for this apparent misuse of public funds are brought to book.
“As the NGCO’s revelations continue to stir public concern, Cherian emphasized  collective responsibility to safeguard the integrity of community projects and called for transparency and accountability in the disbursement of funds meant for public welfare.

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