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Minister visits Garbhanga Reserve Forest Village

Border minister  Siddique Ahmed, made his maiden visit to Garbhanga village on Friday, in the Garbhanga Reserve Forest that is just 18 Kms from Lokhra near the national highway. The visit of the minister has given some light of hope to people living in the Assam-Meghalaya border where localities are deprived of proper medical facilities, electricity, schools and roads. The sad part of the story is that the neighbouring village on the Meghalay side has better ameneties such as electricity and schools. Due to the deprivation of the Assam Government and development programmes there are villages where Meghalay govt. has set up schools and provided water supply. Thus Assam losing its own land. The visit of the Minister is coinciding at times when the border dispute between two states have been raised again and again, specially in Meghalaya assembly. Regarding land dispute, the Minister pointed that Assam is facing the land problem with all the neighbouring states like Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram since once it was a one state. Many border settelment cases are now in the court, added the Minister.

During the public meeting in the village, people openly spoke about the their grivances, and criticised the political parties that comes to their village only during the election. The villagers, mostly belonging to Karbi community have been residing in the these areas from centuries, but  till today they do not possess any land documents. The villagers in their memorendum subbmited to the minister demanded land pttas, roads, medical facilities and other basic amenities. It is also mentioned their feelings as to why the villagers sometimes feel like going with Meghalaya for availing better facilities.

The villagers have got assurance of Rs.75 lacs for immideate development of  the main road connecting Garbhanga village to Lokhra, besides promise to help in other areas, like setting up of a co-operative shop.

In Garbhanaga reserve forest there are around 14 tribal villages, that has a population of around 12,000 including 7000 voters. The villages in Assam-Meghalaya borders are always in the receiving ends. Besides large numbers of trees being felled and smuggled to Meghalaya that is destroying the forest cover.

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Whither The Light of Democracy

28 Oct 2008 - 3:13am | editor
Deepawali is the festival of lights which is celebrated all over India . It marks the advent of the winter season and signifies peace and prosperity and the victory of truth over evil. This year's Diwali (it falls on 28th October) is a bleak one indeed.

As I peer hard through the darkness of hatred and violence, I struggle to find a single ray of bright hope. The atrocities committed by the British Raj on the Indian citizens during its rule in India are now being re enacted by another Raj - the megalomaniac, self styled leader of the Marathas. He seems to be holding the common people to ransom with nary a soul daring to lift a finger against him. The seeds of hatred (between different Hindu communities) so systematically sown by him in Mumbai, some time ago, are spreading like tenacious weeds throughout the country. His diktats against non-Maharashtrians (perhaps with a view to forging new political alliances) have resulted in large scale arson, stampedes, insensitive rioting mobs and killing of innocents - all in the name of protecting the interests of Maharashtra state.

The recent backlash against him in Bihar has killed more innocents, holding public life and security to ransom. And as trains are being torched, public property being damaged and commoners being attacked in the name of avenging misdeeds of the Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena, Raj Thackarey is being accorded a hero's welcome by his goons in Mumbai.

Fiery statements by politicians for and against the Mumbaikars are helping in opening a Pandora's box, with 'an eye for an eye' and 'two slaps for one slap'. It is no longer just Hindus versus Muslims or Christians. New battle lines have been drawn now with one Indian state pitched against another; one caste targeting another caste; all in the name of achieving new political objectives. But does anyone care for the moral objectives?

All of us seem to have become impotent in not being able to control the actions of one madman. Neither the judiciary, nor the government, nor the executive has done anything ( sans issuing the bail able warrant of arrest against him) to douse the fire of hatred and violence that started from Mumbai and is now spreading to other states. The chief minister of U.P.recently feared for the safety of Maharashtrians in other states, thereby hinting subtly at more retaliations rather than reconciliations. Our prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh seems to be more affected by the current financial crisis (the economist that he is) rather than the human crisis ( the non humanist that he seems) engulfing the nation. Violence is begetting violence and no political party, worth its salt, is opposing it. They are busy planning strategies for the winning the forthcoming elections. Why should they care for the common person on the street who has lost his/her property, job or even life in the senseless mania that seemed to have gripped the powers that be?

Let us pray to God to give us some sanity on this festival of lights so that we can dispel the darkness of ignorance and wayward behaviour of a miniscule few who are holding humanity to ransom.

- Shobha Shukla

The author teaches Physics at India's Loreto Convent and has been writing extensively in English and Hindi media. She serves as Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS)

PIL against illegal saw mills and felling of trees in Meghalaya

25 Jan 2008 - 5:35pm | editor

The illegal felling of trees and illegal operation of Sawmills in Meghalaya has assumed such wide and significant proportion that the said illegal operation of saw mills and also illegal felling of trees has resulted in severe public outcry in the State. The common conscious citizens of the country have reasons to be anxious in the face of gross mismanagement of the entire forest cover and resources of the State. The entire episode has now attained higher proportions in view of some recent developments which prima facie reveal the intention of the authorities manning the affairs of the State to help in achievement of undue gains to a few individuals at the cost of the Environment, depleting the Forest resources and Public Interest, and environmental safety.

A PIL was filed by Advocate Nayanjyoti Medhi on behalf of the Garo Students Union through the Khasi Hills Zone President Sanjeeb A Sangma and General Secretary Alex R Marak praying for urgent judicial intervention of the Gauhati High Court into the illegal operation of sawmills and also illegal felling of trees in the State of Meghalaya, more particularly in the Garo Hills region and the subsequent inaction by the department of forest and other authorities in the State of Meghalaya to ensure strict compliance of the Hon'ble Apex Court's orders passed in W.P 202 of 1995 [T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad versus Union of India]. It was prayed on behalf of the Garo Students Union that if Gauhati High Court does not urgently interfere to close down the illegal saw mills operating in the State of Meghalaya and monitor the entire conservation of natural forests, protection, forest rehabilitation, regeneration, afforestation, reforestation and new plantations, with a view to maintaining or restoring the ecological balance, the State will soon have depleted the entire forest cover leading to environmental imbalances of catastrophic proportions. The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Shri Jasti Chelameshwar and Justice Hrishikesh Roy has admitted the petition and issued notice to the Government of Meghalaya which was accepted by Government Advocate of Meghalaya Sri Ratul Goswami.

Further details may be had from Sanjeeb A Sangma at +91 98630 22587 or +91 94363 13284

BTAD safety: Bike rally in Kokrajhar

12 Oct 2012 - 3:55am | editor

Hundreds of pro talk NDFB leaders took out a huge bike rally in Kokrajhar on Thursday demanding safety and security for tribal people in the BTAD areas.

The rally was flagged off by Peoples Joint Action Committee convener Zebraram Moosahary which received overwhelming support support from the various organizations including NDFB, Adivasi Cobra Military, Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement, Ex-BLT and UPDF. The protesters demanded expulsion of outsiders from the tribal belts.