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Road-blockade in Meghalaya
Correspondent SHILLONG, AUG 24:
Published on 24 Aug. 2009 11:45 PM IST
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In protest against alleged government apathy of their demand, the Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU) has called night road blockade and curfew in coal-rich district of Jaintia Hills. The blockade would begin at 7 pm on August 25 and end the next morning at 5 am. Except August 27, the same pattern of night road blockade and curfew would continue till August 30, JSU Spokesman R N Parien said. The decision was taken after talks broke down between JSU representatives and senior government officials on August 21 in regards with the Union’s demand. The JSU has demanded that seven EMRI ambulances be stationed in Jaintia Hills, besides reducing the existing water tax and upgrading the Jowai Civil Hospital to a state-level hospital. R N Parien JSU general secretary said from Jowai that water tax have been increased from Rs 30 per month to Rs 194 even though water supply was erratic. “The increase should be rational not more than Rs 50,” Parien said. Moreover, the government has placed just one EMRI ambulances in the district despite promising to place more. However, the state government today said it was looking into the Union’s demand sympathetically. Four EMRI ambulances would be provided for emergencies at different parts of the state now. On Jowai Civil hospital, Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee said construction of the new Civil hospital would be completed by January next year with better facilities. The present hospital would be an added wing of the new hospital. The Union has demanded a written assurance from the state government that the new hospital would be completed by 2010. “During our meeting the Chief Secretary did not give us a written assurance saying he was not the competent authority,” Parien said. The government, meanwhile, has expressed surprise over JSU’s decsion to go ahead with the stir. National Highway 40 which cuts through Jaintia hills is the lifelines of south Assam and Mizoram. Chatterjee appealed to the JSU to cooperate with the government and not restore to bandhs and disruptive practices.

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