It took five years for laying the foundation stone of a medical college, since it was announced by the current Mukul Sangma government. The government said the delay was due to a technical issue regarding the minimum distance between the proposed medical college and the hospital. As the earlier site was not within 10 km from the present Tura Civil Hospital where the college wing will come up, the project was shifted to Doldegre located within permissible limits as specified by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The question here is was the state government not aware of this particular MCI guideline before selecting the site of the hospital? If it is so, it is a serious lapse on the part of the authorities dealing with the particular subject. The chief minister cannot be blamed directly for the shortcoming, but his government is liable for the faux pass that delayed an institution like medical college for five long years.
The laying of the foundation stone just ahead of the state assembly election also leads to another question — did the government plan the timing of this event well ahead of time since it took five long years. It could have taken four or six years too! The way the chief minister and his colleagues are laying foundation stones and inaugurating already functioning projects, it’s no wonder the delay in construction of Tura Medical College could be election oriented as well.
Although these election stunts are very apparent for the electorates, who are much more aware than earlier times, the trend is yet to stop. Distribution of blankets is still in vogue. Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar recently distributed wheelchairs, spectacles and artificial teeth to senior citizens while launching the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana in the state, first in the North-east. It was but obvious that Meghalaya was chosen among eight states with an eye on the upcoming election. While such launching of schemes may get the benefit of doubt of being national projects, the laying of foundation stone for the Tura Medical College cannot escape the eyes the watchful voters. What did the government do for five long years? Similar is the case of inauguration of the New Umtru Hydro Electric Project by chief minister Mukul Sangma. The project was commissioned six months ago adding 40 MW to the state’s total power generation. It’s high time the ruling side understood the increased level of awareness among electorates who can easily read between the lines and deliver the ‘dues’ to the former through the ballot.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on January 5, 2018)