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Politicians and promises are synonymous. Most promises made by politicians are meant to be forgotten! They utter and re-utter the promises, knowing that public memory is short. With the advent of technology, however, it has become increasingly difficult to make un-achievable promises. A click of the mouse digs out how many times the same promise was made earlier. Sensible politicians, nowadays, remain diplomatic and do not make straight promises. They tend to be realistic. Yet, old habits die hard. India’s road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has announced an ambitious plan to run public transport services on bio-fuel besides introducing electric buses. He did not spell out where from such huge amount of bio-fuel be generated. To critics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign is also overambitious. For many, it was just a photo opportunity. Towns were cleaned like never before wherever Modi went, only to be left unattended thereafter. So, a clean India by 2019, to fulfill Mahatma Gandhi’s dream on his 150th birth anniversary, is asking for too much.

In the remote north-eastern part of the country, Meghalaya’s chief minister Mukul Sangma is a regular promise-maker. His ‘Time Square’ dream went for severe bashing in the social media. The other day it was forest minister Prestone Tynsong to toe the chief minister’s line. At Sohra Indigenous Festival, he announced the government’s ‘intention’ to install cable car between Sohra (or Cherrapunjee) and Mawsynram. The world’s two rainiest places are situated in adjacent mountain ridges separated by a 20-km-wide gorge. The ‘intention’ was nothing new as the chief minister himself had made the same announcement in the state assembly last year. The forest minister repeated the promise, despite no headway in a 1.5-km-long ropeway project in the region for the past four years. He also failed to mention that a survey was already conducted for the Sohra-Mawsynram cable car project.

It seems most politicians don’t really believe what they say! Completing the existing plans is a bit hard for them, so they go for new ones. It’s much easier. Bureaucrats are there to assist them in the lip service. In return, the babus get their ‘dues’, in terms of posting etc. It’s high time the public woke up to such insincere talks by politicians and seek explanation.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on Dec 20, 2014)