Poverty striking lives of people living in coal belt of East Jaintia Hills is one reason for contesting MLA election: pala

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Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) President Vincent H Pala said the escalating poverty that strikes the lives of the people living in the coal belt of East Jaintia Hills is the reason for his decision to come to State politics and contest MLA election.

“I have been in that area and doing the mining for so many years, I have never seen that the poverty is so high and those rich become too rich, those who are poor become too poor,” Pala said.

The MPCC chief said that he gauged the high magnitude of poverty prevalent in the coal belt areas during his door-to-door visits to the districts.

Pala, who is expected to contest from Sutnga-Saipung constituency in the upcoming 2023 assembly elections, said that he has come across families who are unable to even repair their dilapidated houses.

He also stated that people living in the coal belt areas has lost trust in politics, this was revealed during his visit to the villages of Sutnga-Saipung constituency.

Slamming the National People’s Party (NPP)-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government for looting people of the area, the MPCC Chief said, that the people of Meghalaya are in favour of legal mining of coal but the government is “intentionally delaying” the start of scientific coal mining and this apathy, in turn, is affecting scores of households in the coal-rich district of East Jaintia Hills.

“People are ready for that but this government, instead of making laws or giving proposals to Delhi to amend the law, are sitting on it. Why? Because they don’t want scientific mining; they don’t want legal mining. They want to continue with illegal ways for their personal benefits,” he said, adding that scientific mining will bring lots of benefits to the people, but the government wants to “reserve” these benefits only for certain sections of the society.

Asserting that the state Government has not done anything as they left the public high and dry, he said, “The Government should have set up some sorts of committee which will help the people who have been leaving in the mines area and then at the same time doing business for their livelihood in the mining areas.”

Pala informed that one of the main reasons why he decided to contest the upcoming polls is because he wants to eradicate poverty from Meghalaya.

Pala added that this was one of the main reasons that he has taken the decision to join state politics so that he can help the people. “Poverty will be there until and unless the government takes the initiative to develop policies where livelihood can be protected and poverty minimised. And this is why I am contesting the polls, to help the people. Actually, I was very happy to be an MP but I decided to contest the assembly polls because I have seen the people’s suffering. And, it’s my duty to help and protect them,” he said, adding that his experience will aid him in achieving his objective.

Justifying his decision to return to State Politics, the Member of Parliament from Shillong Lok Sabha Constituency Vincent H Pala said, “I have been in the central for so many years, I think I can utilize my experience, I can protect the people, I am very confident that if the people elects me I can make a change out of it.”

Asked about the campaign, Pala said, “Sutnga,  I have tried to visit all the villages first and whenever I get time after the meeting with the village heads or executive members of the village then I try to visit door to door also. We are forming the unit at the different blocks, different polling stations.”

While informing that the campaign has not yet started officially, he said, “We are in the process of making the campaign but I am very confident  when I could see wherever I went any village I visited , people always welcome it and they said that  we are very happy that you have come and contest and we will support you this time.”

“I think 100 percent of whomever I met,​  they agreed with my idea to fight the MLA election.  They are very happy and they started campaigning amongst themselves also,” he added.