Meghalaya on Wednesday revived the idea floated long years back by former chief minister Late E K Mawlong to establish a separate venue in Shillong for holding agitation by various groups and individuals just like Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Mawlong who was the MLA of Umroi constituency for many years, had led the state as chief minister from March 8, 2000 to December 8, 2001. The late leader had also come up with an idea of establishing a Delhi-like Jantar Mantar somewhere near an existing PWD office now, opposite Shillong Civil Hospital here.
Mawlong’s idea however did not move forward after the coalition government led by him collapsed in the hands of those who perpetrated false corruption charges against him in connection with the construction of Meghalaya house at Russel Street, Kolkata.
Now Mawlong’s thought has figured again with the Meghalaya State Planning Board (MSPB) through its chairman and current MLA of Nongkrem constituency, Lambor Malngiang making a move to suggest the state government to establish a Delhi-like Jantar Mantar at the same place as proposed by Mawlong.
Malngiang carried out an inspection in the area on Wednesday along with officials from different departments including urban affairs and PWD, where he suggested the need to build a multi-storey parking facility in the area in order to reduce the chronic traffic congestion in the city.
Malngiang told reporters that if things go as being thought about, the PWD campus which has a total area of about two acres is a suitable area for constructing multi-storey parking facility as well as for creating a separate venue in the area for staging of agitations by different groups as being done in other cities of the country.
At present, protesters or activists belonging to different groups sought permission from the district administration for using certain venue to stage a protest in city.
The parking lot near additional secretariat is the one of the main venues that various groups have used for holding sit-in demonstrations and other forms of agitation.
“We have asked the PWD to submit a report at the earliest within one month on the feasibility of our suggestions and it is up to the government to examine and approve,” Malngiang said.
He said that if the government agreed with the suggestions, the existing branches of the PWD have to be relocated.
Commenting on traffic jam in Shillong, Malngiang said the suggestion to have a multi-storey parking facility for vehicles would help reduce congestion in the city.
“If serious measures are not taken, Shillong will collapse,” Malngiang observed. He said the multi-storey parking facility, if built, can even accommodate tourist taxis plying between Shillong and Guwahati and other places.
He informed that the state education department was also suggested to hold a meeting with representatives of various educational institutes in the city to discuss the congestion issue, especially the need to introduce school buses.
“We were told that some parents could even have the luxury policy of one-child-one-vehicle while dropping and fetching their kids from schools. Therefore, we need to do something, and may be, one school bus can bring down not less than 30 vehicles,” he said.