Residents of Laitlyngkot have condemned a “secret” public hearing held as part of the process to approve the alignment of the planned widening of the Shillong-Dawki road.
Speaking to reporters, Pillar Nongkhlaw, the former headman of Iew Shyllong, which falls under Laitlyngkot elaka, alleged that the public hearing in December 2018 was conducted secretly without the knowledge of all the villagers.
“The public hearing was done according to the individual capacity of Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong with selected people with vested interests and not by the concerned authority or the knowledge of all the villagers, which has made us suspect that some underhand ploy is going on,” Nongkhlaw claimed, adding that only 17 people attended the hearing.
Opposition to the new alignment is centred on the supposed threat faced by the source of rivers in the area, on which the locals are dependent. Villagers also fear that the alignment will uproot shopkeepers who are eking out a livelihood along the road.
It was a Right to Information (RTI) request received on December 17 that revealed that the state government issued an official letter to the Laitlyngkot elaka in February 2019 to publicly announce the widening of the bypass at Laitlyngkot.