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Govt offers talks but blockade on
- GSU strike hits East Garo Hills

Shillong, Nov. 4: The Garo Students Union (GSU)-sponsored indefinite office picketing and night road blockade affected the functioning of offices in the East Garo Hills, as the district administration said it would hold talks with the student body to end the strike.

However, the GSU said the blockade would continue as it had not received any assurance in writing.

The GSU’s demands include improvement of roads in the district headquarters and appointment of adequate number of staff in Williamnagar Government College.

GSU general secretary, East Zone, Williamnagar, Mathew R. Marak, said the second day of the office picketing and night road blockade called by the GSU and Williamnagar Government College Students’ Union today was successful.

The GSU said its volunteers prevented the officials from taking attendance of the office-goers by sitting in a teashop near the office of the East Garo Hills district administration.

However, the papers carried by the officials were snatched away by the GSU members, Marak said.

According to Marak, the officers just wanted to impress the government that the attendance was normal whereas the fact is that the functioning of the offices was totally paralysed.

Marak said the union and the college students had submitted several memoranda and had been requesting the government for the past four to five years, but till date their demands have not been met.

According to the GSU, the Williamnagar Government College is functioning with a skeletal staff and the appointment of a fulltime principal, adequate number of lecturers and the ministerial staff is required urgently so that the students can perform well.

The GSU also said as road condition in Williamnagar, the headquarters of the East Garo Hills, and other parts of the district was abysmal, there was an immediate need to repair those stretches.

The GSU leader said there were many students and people who come from far-flung villages, especially Songsak, Mangsang, Rongjeng, Dobu and Nengkra to the district headquarters and they often face hardships because of the pathetic road condition.

An official with the East Garo Hills administration admitted that the demands raised by the GSU and the students were genuine as far as the affairs of the Williamnagar Government College was concerned.

The government is working out ways and means to fulfill the demands of the student bodies, the official said.

The public works department is also taking up the issue of repairing the road in Williamnagar, he added.

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