The new district with the polarising moniker, Eastern West Khasi Hills, came into being today for the people of Mairang and Mawthadraishan areas.
At the function to officially launch the district, which was split off from West Khasi Hills, were Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, Speaker of the Assembly and Mairang MLA Metbah Lyngdoh, and other cabinet ministers and legislators.
The day marked exactly 45 years since Mairang was made a civil sub-division, the administrative level below the district. The Mairang civil sub-division was created in 1976. Mairang will be the headquarters of the twelfth and newest district in Meghalaya.
While the mood was festive at the inauguration venue, the name of Eastern West Khasi Hills, which seemed to defy the limits of a compass, has drawn much mirth and mockery from the online community.
The name issue was noted by the chief minister. Amusingly, he referred to the prevailing matrilineal traditions of the indigenous tribes as justification for the cumbersome name.
“We are a matrilineal society, so we felt that some lineage with the parent district should be incorporated. Hence the cabinet felt that since the region falls in the eastern part of West Khasi Hills, we should name it as Eastern West Khasi Hills,” he stated.
At the function, Sangma said that the new district will bring administration closer to the people and that the new district was a long desired aspiration and the dream of the people.
“The new district was created not because it is in Khasi Hills or Jaiñtia Hills or Garo Hills but purely on the basis of certain parameters, which had put the region in the bottom list of all developmental activities. We wanted to bring administration closer to the people and hence the twelfth district of the State was created,” Sangma said.
He went on to laud what he said is his government’s commitment to listening to the concerns of the people and delivering their needs and desires.
“Whatever concerns the people have raised, including those which were raised earlier, our MDA government has been very prompt to find an amicable solution to address the concerns,” he added.
“We have been a public oriented and a people centric government, a government that is for the people of our State.”
Sangma did address disgruntlement from other sections of the State that are still waiting for new districts to be created, however.
“Whenever I inaugurate a development project in Khasi Hills, inevitably there is a message from Garo Hills, saying what about Garo Hills. Whenever I inaugurate a project in Garo Hills, there is a message about Jaiñtia Hills. Let me tell you that this MDA government does not discriminate based on tribe, caste, creed or religion. We don’t differentiate between Khasi, Garo or Jaiñtia Hills,” he asserted.