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Move gets underway to make Jengjal a civil sub-division: CM Conrad

The move can also slice in half the ongoing campaign of the opposition Trinamool Congress which is expected to be James' main rival in the upcoming elections.

TURA:

The MDA government is reportedly not averse to promoting Jengjal region of West Garo Hills district into a new civil sub-division and efforts appear to be underway to clear the paperwork ahead of the announcement of assembly elections that could happen as early as the second week of January, next year.

A possible decision by the Conrad K Sangma government to make Jengjal the fourth civil sub-division in Garo Hills, after Dadenggre, Raksamgre and Chokpot civil sub-divisions, would provide immense political benefit to the chief minister’s elder brother and minister James Pangsang K Sangma.

James is the sitting MLA of Dadenggre constituency, to which belongs Jengjal region. He has been elected from the Dadenggre region for three consecutive terms, since winning from the Rongchugre seat which was merged with Dadenggre following the delimitation process in 2008.

It could hold him in good stead for the upcoming polls since he will be probably the first and only sitting legislator to have two civil sub-divisions in a single constituency.

The move can also slice in half the ongoing campaign of the opposition Trinamool Congress which is expected to be James’ main rival in the upcoming elections.

James won the 2018 elections from Dadenggre by a margin of only 2785 votes against Independent candidate Rupa Marak, while the Congress candidate June Eliana R Marak, widow of former congress minister Clement Marak, was pushed to distant third.

The problem for James Sangma is that Rupa is no longer an Independent candidate but a Trinamool (AITC) heavyweight who could prove to be an eyesore for the number 2 of the NPP in the coming days of the campaign.

To cut the opposition to size, James Sangma led a delegation of Jengjal stakeholders from different sections of society to call on chief minister Conrad K Sangma at his official residence in Shillong on Friday,

“We requested the Hon’ble CM Shri Conrad K Sangma for his urgent intervention for declaration of Jengjal and its surrounding areas to a Civil Sub-Division. Jengjal’s present location along the National Highway makes it a strategic mid-point both administratively and as an economic hub for the entire Garo Hills region,” the health minister and Dadenggre MLA had said while trying to justify the need for the announcement.

He appears to be right! Jengjal is the entry point to almost the entire region of Garo Hills. From Jengjal one can head down to North Garo Hills and Assam, turn left to head to Williamnagar in the East and Siju-Baghmara in the South, or proceed straight to Tura in the west and beyond, stretching all the way to Ampati, Dalu and the International border with Bangladesh.

Jengjal has also turned into a mega health centre for the past four years, ever since a medical team of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, trained and connected to India’s most famous Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore set up base in the town.

The CMC doctors in Jengjal have been providing a yeoman service for the sick and needy at literally no cost, the state government providing the necessary medicines and other requirements, and has now become the One-Stop centre for pregnant mothers and children.

A Pandora’s Box

But, the move to promote Jengjal to a civil sub-division does have its perils. Much before the demand from its stakeholders came around, others have been fighting for the same for many long years.

Demands for Siju-Rongara in South Garo Hills, Kharkutta in the north, and more importantly Rongjeng in the East have been long pending issues.

Rongjeng in particular stands out as it is the gateway to Assam, through the highway connecting Dudhnoi town in Assam, and Shillong through Nongstoin in west Khasi Hills.

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