I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the recent procession organised by the Catholic Church in Shillong, an annual event that unfortunately resulted in significant chaos and inconvenience for the city’s residents.
The lack of proper planning and execution, particularly in terms of traffic management, was glaringly evident. Shillong, already burdened with congestion issues, was brought to a standstill during the event. The minimal presence of traffic police officers compounded the problem, making it nearly impossible for citizens to navigate the city.
It is disheartening that such events are allowed to proceed without comprehensive consideration for the impact on public life. The government must reassess its decision-making process when granting permissions for large gatherings, especially in an already congested city. Furthermore, the responsibility lies not only with event organisers but also with disaster management authorities and the concerned ministerial department to ensure smooth traffic flow and public safety.
The confluence of this procession with Diwali only exacerbated the situation, highlighting a lack of foresight and coordination. In the event of a serious concern or emergency during such occasions, who bears the onus for the resulting chaos and potential harm to the public?
Furthermore, the aftermath of the procession adds another layer of distress to the residents of Shillong. It is disheartening to witness the blatant disregard for basic hygiene exhibited by attendees, who indiscriminately litter and leave behind a trail of garbage throughout the city. The streets, which were once a symbol of communal unity during the procession, transform into an unsightly mess.
This lack of civic responsibility not only reflects poorly on the participants but also raises questions about the event’s overall impact on the city’s cleanliness and environmental well-being. It is imperative that event organisers emphasise and enforce stringent waste management practices to preserve the sanctity of the city and instill a sense of responsibility among those participating in such events. The beauty and cultural significance of these processions should not come at the cost of degrading the very city they aim to celebrate.
It is distressing to note that what should be a solemn religious affair transforms into a disruptive party scene, with individuals from distant places openly indulging in alcohol consumption. This not only undermines the sanctity of the event but also poses a threat to public order.
Moreover, the double standard in response to inconveniences during other cultural events, such as Pujas, raises questions about fairness and consistency in governance. It is appalling to witness patients in ambulances being delayed en route to hospitals due to the inadequate planning of such events.
I urge all stakeholders, including the government, event organisers, and local NGOs, to reevaluate and re-strategise the planning and execution of such gatherings. Strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) for traffic and crowd management must be implemented to prevent a recurrence of this total failure in the future.
The general public should not be made to suffer due to the inefficiency of the government, and it is high time that responsible and meticulous planning becomes the norm for large-scale events in Shillong.