Shillong, July 18: Cabinet minister and spokesperson of the MDA government Ampareen Lyngdoh has asked anti-railway groups to do a case study on Mendipathar railway station and its impact on the tribal communities in Garo Hills region.
“Whoever is opposing to railways should at least go to Mendipathar and do a case study and find out whether or not this influx has happened or whether or not there is a dilusion of tribal communities there,” Lyngdoh told reporters today.
“I haven’t embarked on a study as such but I know a lot of their produce and products are now being transported far more efficiently and at a lesser cost,” she added.
The minister was reacting to a query on the recent opposition against the government’s move to conduct a feasible study to connect East Jaintia Hills with railway connectivity.
Stating that the MDA government will not do anything which is anti-people, Lyngdoh said, “We have to have a community that is ready for any development.
Whether or not the government will take further action to expand its railway connectivity in the state, I don’t know maybe the Garo Hills is ready. So the region that is ready will get it first and the regions that are not ready and are resisting will obviously we don’t want to go against anybody’s wishes because at the end of the day we are a government for the people and by the people.”
“Therefore, we are saying wherever we have an operating railway head let us go there and find out the impact assessment study means that go to that place, go to that railway heads and find out the pros and cons, the negative and the positive,” Lyngdoh said.
“Whether or not it is also possible to have I know technology has advanced greatly but if you notice every other hill station has one railway track and that is usually a tourism project, it is very rarely a lifeline for that hill station. Look at Shimla, Darjeeling, they continue to only be tourism project but let us see whether this works but Mendipathar is doing very well I am told but it is just that I have not engaged actively but from hearsay lots of our produce and products are going across at a much cheaper rate, technology and other exchange activities are also now coming to Garo Hills much quickly,” she said.
Refusing to comment any further, the spokesperson said, “We have to have set missions, we need to focus ourselves. You cannot just blindly say no this is something you should not do or you should do. But if you ask me to comment I will not comment any further because you have as always a divergent view of the public. There will be those for railways and there will be those who are against railways.”
“So every issue we will have this diverse approach so I am not just going to comment at this point in time but to my knowledge the Mendipathar railway station is bringing a lot of positives for Garo Hills but we also have other challenges in this part of the state. We don’t have enough low lying land, we have high hills, we have inconvenient topography whether or not it is going to be achievable is something again which needs to be seen,” she added.
She further assured “no government will go ahead and do anything as we are governing for whose benefit, it is for the people’s benefit. Why would we go against the people’s wishes?”