'Mining mafia' dig at Cong

Prime Minister inaugurates road, hydel projects; flags Rs 90000 crore development in the Northeast

By Rining Lyngdoh in Shilong
  • Published 17.12.17
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at supporters during the rally in Meghalaya on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos

Shillong: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday kickstarted the BJP's election campaign in poll-bound Meghalaya and accused the Congress-led government of working for the "mining mafia".

Modi, who addressed thousands of BJP supporters at Polo ground here, chose to speak more about development projects that his government had initiated for the Northeast, including Meghalaya, in the last three years, and lashed out at the state government led by Mukul Sangma.

Despite speculation that four sitting MLAs would share the dais with Modi, none of them turned up. It had been reported that Congress MLA A.L. Hek, NCP legislator Sanbor Shullai and two Independents, Robinus Syngkon and Justine Dkhar, would join the BJP and share the dais with Modi.

Though the ban on coal mining has been an issue, the Prime Minister skipped it, accusing the state government of not working for the people but for "mining mafia".

"The resources here give more edge to Meghalaya than any other state to become a leader of developed states, had the focus of the state government was on good governance," Modi said, adding that Meghalaya has the potential to become a role model for smaller states. He also said though the Congress has been ruling the state for the last 15 years, people are not getting safe drinking water. He also highlighted problems like traffic jam, poor healthcare and deplorable condition of hospitals and schools.

Alleging that projects in Meghalaya could not be completed despite funds from the Centre, Modi said, "There is scam after scam under the Congress government here," adding that the CAG report showed Rs 908 crore remained unutilised in the state in the last six years.

Emphasising the importance of good governance, Modi said his government has nothing to show to people except the agenda of development, speedy development and all-round development.

He said the Centre has sanctioned around Rs 100 crore for development of tourist destinations in Meghalaya. Before addressing the rally, Modi inaugurated the Shillong-Nongstoiñ-Rongjeng-Tura Road. He said the road would establish a link between Shillong and Tura and reduce travelling time from 15 to eight hours.

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma and state PWD (roads) minister Martin M. Danggo could not attend the inauguration but saw Modi off at the helipad in upper Shillong, about 8km from here, before his departure.

DoNER minister Jitendra Singh, Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad and Tura Lok Sabha MP Conrad K. Sangma, among others, were present.

Complaints: BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav accused the Meghalaya government of blocking people from reaching the venue at Polo ground.

Even mediapersons from Shillong covering the Prime Minister's visit had a harrowing time here on Saturday. Despite official media passes, they were not allowed to cover the inauguration of the road project. SPG personnel at the venue did not allow them to go inside the hall for the inauguration.