Please allow me to react to a few issues that appeared in the editorial pages of some local newspapers on September 21 on the mob violence at the public hearing of a cement plant at Thangskai, on the New Parliament House and Modi and battling pollution in Shillong.
First, the mob violence at the public hearing at Thangskai Cement Plant was unfortunate and we condemn it. This incident occurred due to the failure of the law enforcement authorities to anticipate the possibility of violence that had taken place at the event.
The police intelligence failed to gauge the mood of the people of Thangskai against acquiring more mining areas deep into the famous Narpuh Reserve Forest to expand and enrich not only the Cement Plant in question but nearly ten plus other Giant Cement Factories. Now, the important question that we should ask is who are the primary culprits responsible for the rampant degradation of the famous virgin Narpuh Reserve Forest from 259 sq km in 1918 to just around 59 sq km today?
Apart from other culprits which had caused the degradation of the famous forest area, those who directly are responsible for the rapid denudation of the forest are the MoEF, the Commerce and Industry Department and the MSPCB.
The environmental catastrophe these giant Cement Plants have caused by industrial waste in the form of air and liquid pollution to the water bodies, land, flora and fauna, and aquatic lives and humans is beyond description. The environmental Pollution in Jaintia Hills comes not only from cement plants but most of all from unscientific coal mining and coke factories, which keep coming up unabated in spite of the strict laws put in place by the NGT but remained muted by the state authorities.
Now, coming to the new Sansad Bhavan (Parliament House) and Narendra Modi. There is nothing wrong either with the Bhavan or Modi. We should all be proud of having the new beautiful Bhavan built within a record time and with the PM overseeing the construction from time to time to ensure the quality of the national asset and time of completion. What about our Meghalaya Assembly building? Till today, we don’t have any even after 22 long years and the new one at Mawdiangdiang may not come to fruition. It seems anything done by or associated with Modi is condemned as bad or taken as saffronisation or Hindutva politics. What is wrong in installing some Indian symbol like Sengol in the Sansad Bhavan? It won’t be surprising if Modi gets another term as PM in 2024. The combined opposition, I. N. D. I. A, it seems, pitches Rahul Gandhi as the PM face against Modi, but he is nowhere compared to the popularity and dynamics of Modi. He is still a lightweight in whom we find it difficult to entrust the future of our country.
On battling pollution in Shillong, my kudos to Rishotbaskhem Kharlyngdoh for his article on the subject that appeared in the print media. He has correctly identified the causes of pollution in the city and its adjoining areas and suggested steps to combat it by calling all inhabitants of the above-mentioned areas to restore the cleanliness and freshness of Shillong. In unison with him, I also appeal to all Shillongites to cooperate to keep our city clean. Yes, we can if we have the will and determination to achieve cleanliness. In this connection, I congratulate some NGOs which volunteered to clean the dirt of the Umkaliar and other parts of Shillong but sadly they could not sustain their efforts. Shillong rivers and other parts of the city are still full of pollutants because a majority of Shillongites living in all localities are highly irresponsible and do not cooperate and litter wherever they feel like.