Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has come in for severe criticism from the people of Wapung for shifting the Block Development Office from there to Lumshnong.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, Sangma said that after a proper study of the situation it was found that setting up the Block at Lumshnong would benefit more people especially those at the border areas who are often at the receiving end form the people and Government of Assam.
“A Block Development Office as the name suggests is not meant to develop some educated people who will be working in the offices. The larger aim is to reach out to the poor and deprived by extending them several schemes especially from the Departments of Horticulture and Agriculture to lift them out of their poverty,” Sangma said adding that the matter has been unnecessarily politicized and even communalized.
Sangma pointed out that Wapung Skur is roughly about 22 kms from Jowai the headquarters of West Jaintia Hills and only 10 Kms from Khliehriat Block hence its people can be well served by this Block. On the contrary, the people living in distant border villages like Ratacherra can be served better from Lumshnong Block.
“While constituting development blocks several important points have to be taken into consideration. We cannot be subjected to populism. In fact the decision to shift the Block to Lumshnong is a bold step requiring political courage. The easier thing would have been to capitulate to popular demand but that is not the role of Government,” Sangma stated.
He further added, “The sincere aim of my Government is to serve the most needy and deprived populations and to provide livelihoods as well as reach out with development packages in those villages which have earlier suffered from being distantly located from any Block office and which suffer from the tyranny of distance. I therefore appeal to people not to play politics with development.”