Raju Das SHILLONG, Feb 1 – In a rare gesture, Union Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ram Kripal Yadav today spent time in the households of local villagers at Mawphlang to learn about their problems, which some villagers say even local politicians seldom does.
Union Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav interacting with a family at Mawphlang village near Shillong on Sunday. - UB Photos
Yadav on a visit to the State went to inspect the Shillong Water Supply Scheme at Mawphlang, about 25 km from here. After the inspection, he headed for a nearby village called Mawphlang Nongrum and met the villagers.
The villagers told the Union Minister about their problems – some were unrelated to his Ministry – and informed that the villagers were facing a hard time in the absence of a college, non-availability of doctors in the Community Health Centre and Public Health Centre and recreational facilities.
The Minister then visited the residence of a local villager, Saralin Wankhar and inspected the kitchen and toilet. He was offered kwai and pan (areca nut and betel) by Wankhar.
A visibly amused Wankhar later said it was hardly expected that a Union Minister would pay a visit to her family and inspect the kitchen and toilet. “No Minister in the past has ever made such a visit to our family,” Wankhar said.
Wankhar further added that she has narrated to the Union Minister about the difficulties faced by the villagers and Yadav has promised that he would do everything that is possible.
Another women, Suktimai Lyngdoh Mawphlang, said the gesture of the Union Minister would be remembered by the villagers. “The Union Minister will be ever remembered by the villagers for spending his time with us and try understand our problems”.
“Not even our local MLA makes such visits after winning Assembly elections. So forget about our State Ministers visiting us. They will come and visit us only during the elections and seek votes,” Mawphlang said.
Yadav, meanwhile, on his part, said he was visiting the village as per the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get first hand information about the difficulties of the people in the village.
Modi has directed his Cabinet colleagues to pay at least one visit to the North East once every two months and stay in the region for at least 48 hours and learn about the problems of the people.
The BJP-led NDA Government has enhanced the amount for Total Sanitation Scheme from Rs 3,000 to Rs 12,000 for construction of a toilet and facilities for safe drinking water in the village. It aims to provide these basic facilities to all households in the country.
Before departing, Yadav stressed that the “Union Government will not tolerate corruption” and unlike before, “technical experts and officers from the Union Government will monitor all projects”, from time to time.