GUWAHATI, March 15 - They might be living on the fringes, with their problems pushed on the margin due to more ‘urbane’ issues of Guwahati, but the residents of Pilingkata and adjacent areas are conscious about their voting right, which they want to exercise judiciously this time while choosing their representative. Areas along the Assam-Meghalaya border in the Dispur constituency look anything but a part of the capital city. When it comes to the entitlement of basic amenities and minimum facilities for being the residents of the constituency No. 52, it has always been a raw deal for the 18,000-odd voters of Pilingkata, Ganesh Nagar, Swargapur, South Ganesh Nagar, Latakata and Patarkuchi.
Adding insult to injury, the residents are bereft of the developmental schemes taken up by the government for their ‘confused’ status on living on the border of the two states.
“An electricity connection taken up from one state is disconnected by the other. Developmental schemes by the Government of Assam hardly reach this far, though the area is within Dispur constituency. Absence of proper boundary demarcation has led to several problems in the locality, but there is nobody to answer,” said Haren Das, a local of the area.
For years together, the residents of the area, along with those from adjacent localities, fought for reconstructing six wooden bridges on the Bahini river into concrete structures. Only one bridge has been reconstructed so far and work recently started on another bridge even as the decaying and rundown of other wooden bridges still continue.
Social worker Biren Sarma, who was a part of the movement for the bridges, told The Assam Tribune that though Latakata reconstruction work has started, other wooden bridges are still in very bad condition.
“There are several other issues that add to the confusion including the failure of the government to provide land patta to the residents. Most people of the locality are too poor to pay the land premium fixed by the government. If their land issues are settled with some concession from the government’s side, it would benefit both the locals as well as the government in boundary demarcation,” he said.
“As we live in a bordering area, we are like nobody’s children, when it comes to a planned development of the area. Except for the time of elections, the public representatives, or the senior leaders of any political party are nowhere to be seen in any of the localities. However, as we also have the political right to cast vote, as equal as anyone else, we are not going to send someone to Assembly, for whom we do not exist,” added Paran C Deka, a local of Latakata.