GUWAHATI, March 4 � The deplorable living conditions in as many as 16 villages on the city outskirts, which are bereft of even the basic amenities of health, education, power, water, communication, etc., stand in sharp contrast to with the oft-repeated government rhetoric of all-round development.
An on-the-spot assessment by members of the All Guwahati Students� Union (AGSU), who visited the Garbhanga, Jaluk-Paham and Matang villages located at a distance of 20 km from State capital Dispur recently, has laid bare how thousands of people in those hamlets continue to be deprived of the bare necessities.
�We visited the villages to have first-hand knowledge of the pathetic lifestyles of the inhabitants despite living so close to the State capital. We saw for ourselves the problems plaguing the villages that are without even the basic facilities such as dispensaries, schools, electricity, water supply, and roads and bridges,� Kushal Rongpi, president of the AGSU, said in a statement.
Rongpi said that the villagers belonged to different ethnic communities including Karbi, Bodo, Rabha and Gorkha, totalling a population of around 5,000 in the 16 villages.
�It is absolutely shocking that these people have remained outside the purview of development all these years. This exposes the State Government�s much-tomtomed rhetoric of development as hollow,� Rongpi said.
This contrasts sharply with the situation on the Meghalaya side of the border villages where the Meghalaya Government has expedited the development process.
The entire Garbhanga area comprising several villages has just one primary school having a hundred students and three teachers. The teachers take classes for a week and the rest of the month there is no activity in the schools. There is a primary school at Jaluk-Paham with 40 students and a couple of teachers, and the situation is no different as classes are held for just a week in a month.
�The area has just one health sub-centre which was inaugurated in 2009 but it has not seen even a single doctor till date. A couple of nurses are there who visit the centre twice a week,� Rongpi said.
The road conditions are most deplorable and no commercial vehicles ply on those. �Walking is the only option for the people. There is neither electricity nor water supply,� he added.
Rongpi said that despite the sheer backwardness, the villagers were still exhibiting a sense of patriotism by declining offers from Meghalaya to provide power. �The people are a resentful lot due to the apathy of the Assam Government but still want to stay with Assam and regard the developmental offers by Meghalaya as a conspiracy to acquire Assam�s land,� Rongpi said.
The AGSU on Saturday submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioners of both Kamrup and Kamrup (Metro), directors of Primary Education and Health, and the chief engineers of Power departments and PWD, demanding immediate steps for initiating the developmental process in the villages.
�It is most unfortunate that villages at a stone�s throw away from the Chief Minister�s Koinadhora residence should be languishing for want of attention. The Chief Minister would do well to address such burning developmental concerns before claiming to have put the State on the road map of development,� the AGSU said.