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Congress’s Siangshai rues coal mining ban

Addressing a press conference here on February 16, she said that people have lost everything since the ban on coal and pointed out that there are several drop-outs and drug addiction was rising in the district.

SHILLONG:

Congress candidate for Khliehriat Jhanika Siangshai on February 16 rued the “bad days” that the ban on coal mining has brought upon the people of East Jaintia Hills while also expressing concern over the plight of female sex workers, and stigma surrounding the HIV positive patients.

Addressing a press conference here on February 16, she said that people have lost everything since the ban on coal and pointed out that there are several drop-outs and drug addiction was rising in the district.

 “Since the coal ban, there have been bad days for East Jaintia Hills, everyone is dying and I have not seen the government doing enough to resolve the crisis,” she said.

 “I have seen people dying. Since the coal ban, we have lost everything in East Jaintia. From royal families we became the poorest of the poor,” she added.

 “There are drop-outs. If the ban is lifted, everything will be alright.  Scientific mining should begin as early as possible,” she said.

The youngest woman candidate from the Congress said she stood for women, youth and female sex workers.

“I stand for the women, for the youth and I also stand for the female sex workers because we have so many of them in our place. We know the women need help and strength… they became what they are because they are jobless and their children are roaming on the roads,” she said.

Siangshai also turned her attention to HIV positive people and is making efforts to fight against stigma.

 Asked as to how she will win the election in the face of money power, she said, “I will win their hearts with love and trust. With love, I can win the hearts of the people. Love works more than money and God’s blessing at the same time.”

All India Congress Committee (AICC) coordinator Bobeeta Sharma said that one should not sell one’s vote which is a powerful tool to change the fate of the country and state.

Speaking about female sex workers, Sharma said, “As Jhanika has pointed out, it is an issue because of joblessness, and that is why we have mentioned in the manifesto that we should have meaningful employment opportunities.”

She added, “We should not victimise those people who have been forced into this profession but we should help them out of that and provide them alternative livelihood.”

As for coal mining, she said that the resumption of coal mining should be as per the environmental rules.

Sharma pointed out that the Congress has always given opportunities to women and there are 10 candidates in the upcoming election.

She went on to say that women still need to be more empowered in Meghalaya and be economically independent.

A candidate from Nongthymmai constituency Banida Kharkongor said that a large percentage of voters are women and most of them are daily wage earners.

A candidate from West Shillong constituency Bethleen Dkhar also stressed on women empowerment, youth employment generation, child and maternal rights.

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