From our Staff Correspondent
SHILLONG, July 31: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma formally inaugurated the East Jaintia Hills district on Tuesday. Earlier known as the Khliehriat sub-division, the new district has been a victim of virtual environmental exploitation. The allegation of environmental exploitation has been raised and officially recorded in numerous proceedings, but none of the policy makers have touched the issue that needed attention. It is now a new district with the blessing of the Chief Minister.
Speaking at the inauguration of the East Jaintia Hills District at Khliehriat, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma urged the people of the new district to extend their support to the Government and thus enable it to serve them and fulfill their aspirations. Stating that there have been too many instances where the Government has not been permitted to do its work, he urged the people not to waste time by resorting to agitations. In this regard, Sangma said that there has been remarkable change in the last two years which has enabled the Government to perform some of its duties.
Using a small family as an example of efficient management, the Chief Minister informed that Meghalaya has adopted this concept with regard to governance, a result of which is that Meghalaya has decided to create four new districts. Stressing on the fact that rapid and people centric development can only come about with small districts in place; Sangma said that this is the beginning of a long journey to development.
Comparing the East Jaintia Hills district to a new – born baby, Sangma said that it demands the attention of both the people and the Government and called for a partnership between the two to make the district one of the most vibrant and progressive districts of the State.
With regard to the abundance of natural resources available in the district, Sangma said that preserving the environment is the need of the hour.
He also appealed to the people of the new district to step forward and offer a helping hand to the Government with regard to the construction of the DC’s office, and said that with their help of the public, building a complex where there every need could be catered to under one roof could be made possible. He also stated that the Government has enough money for such a project and all that is needed from the people is to provide the land that the Government needs for such a project.
Sangma also called for speedy implementation and completion of projects without overrun of cost and time. Stating that the Government of India has been very supportive of projects proposed by the Government of Meghalaya, Sangma said that this support from the Central Government has come about because of speedy completion and implementation of past projects in the State. He called upon the people of Jaintia Hills to maintain this trend.
Stressing on the need for a railway line in the region, Sangma said that Assam is benefitting from Meghalaya’s coal and the rapid development that Meghalaya’s neighbour is experiencing could also be replicated in Meghalaya. Stating that the railways will be a boon to the economy of the state, he urged the people to be more accommodating in this regard.
It may be mentioned that Khliehriat was created as an Administrative Unit on August 14, 1976 and it was upgraded to a Civil Sub Division on May 27, 1982. The total area of the new district is 2,115 sq kms, with a population of 1,22,436 residing in 206 villages. The district has 2 C&RD blocks with headquarters at Khliehriat and Saipung. There are also two assembly constituencies in the district, 5-Sutnga Saipung and 6-Khliehriat constituency.
The road length in the district under the Central Division of National Highway is 92 kms while under the State Highways (NEC Division) is 513 kms. The major minerals found in the district are coal, limestone and fireclay, and there are 10 cement plants in the district.
Several Ministers and MLAs, including the Union Minister of Water Resources, Vincent H Pala graced the occasion. Chief Adviser to the Government of Meghalaya, DD Lapang and Deputy Chief Ministers, Rowell Lyngdoh and Bindo Lanong; Ministers RC Laloo, HDR Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, AT Mondal, Ampareen Lyngdoh, Shitlang Pale, JA Lyngdoh, AL Hek, Parliamentary Secretaries, Nehlang Lyngdoh and L Rymbui and MLA ECB Bamon as also the Chief Secretary, WMS Pariat and Additional Chief Secretary, PBO Warjri were also present.