Dalu residents to protest export of boulders to Bangladesh

UT News Service | Shillong, Aug 13: Residents of Dalu, West Garo Hills, under the aegis of the Dalu Area Citizens’ Forum (DACF) have decided to undertake a two-day non-cooperation protest in the town over the failure of the state government and administration to stop the export of boulders to Bangladesh despite all their objections.

The residents had earlier written to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma over their concerns that the export of boulders would lead to the import of Covid-19.

The protest will run from 6 am to 6 pm in the area around Dalu on August 18 and 19.

“The non-cooperation movement is being called for due to the failure of the district administration in complying with the various protocols notified by the state government’s Commerce and Industries Department in the form of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for border trade,” DACF President Gopal A Sangma said.

Deputy Commissioner Ram Singh, however, denied that protocols were not being followed.

“Public safety is paramount. All protocols provided by the government are being followed,” Singh said. “Drivers are being regularly tested (using the rapid antigen test). They are also not allowed to stop in any market areas. Further, I have directed the PHCs to conduct random testing in the market areas as well.”

The DACF tells a different story from that of the senior district official. According to Sangma, there is no limit on the number of vehicles that ply on any given day, which causes a build-up of traffic.

“There are no checkups and tests take place at the point of entry or even after returning from Bangladesh. Further, there are night halts on the road side, stoppages at multiple places, no safety measures are taken and even drivers going around looking for food and liquor. There are many more violations that were noticed,” he added.

The residents of the area warned that once community spread starts, it will spread like wildfire and the people of Dalu should not be held responsible.

“The government should be made accountable for this failure. Boosting the economy at the cost of public has no justification,” Sangma added.

The DC stated that he had also directed the Block Development Officer of Dalu to enquire into all the accusations and provide a report at the earliest on the situation.

“We will not take a chance with public health,” assured the DC.


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