Hub of Khasi culture, Khasi Heritage Village in shambles

Nartiang Monoliths, Meghalaya


By NewsGram Staff Writer

The hub of Khasi culture and a much awaited project of Mawphlang region, Khasi Heritage Village is currently in a miserable state.

The much awaited village project, which is spread across a sprawling eight-acre campus in Mawphlang district of Meghalaya, was initiated by the Congress-led Khasi Hills United Democratic Alliance (KHUDA). It had been sanctioned an estimated Rs.5.90 crores by the 13th financial commission.

But, various reports say that out of Rs. 5.90 crores, which was the amount originally allocated for the project, the contractor was paid only Rs. 2.80 crores, forcing him to abandon the work. As a result of which only ten huts, out of the 17 that were originally planned, have been built.

Many out of the already constructed ten huts are in a bad state. Most of the wooden furnitures are broken and the huts badly damaged.

The first edition of Monolith Festival was held here during October 2013 and was inaugurated by the then Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, V. Kishore Chandra Deo. The expenditure which incurred during the festival was approximately Rs. 20 lakh. The festival was a success and it was essentially planned out to be an annual affair. But, it couldn’t be conducted in 2014.

“The KHADC paid Rs.20 lakh to the Khasi Heritage Conservation Forum for holding the two-day Festival from October 25, 2013. Sohra legislator,Titus Chyne, was the Chairman of the Forum while Alan West was the Secretary,” an official source said.

Many questions were raised about the manner in which the funds were being spent for the Heritage Village Project. As a result, the KHADC CEM, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, ordered an inquiry into the matter. He further stated that people had the right to know why the KHADC EC had failed to invite open tender for appointment of consultants, and also what were the reasons for the lack of transparency in the construction of public toilets worth Rs.32 lakh in the Heritage Village.

Due to pending allegations, the 2014 edition of the Monolith Festival could not be conducted. The outcome of the inquiry is yet to be made public, though the inquiry officer has submitted the final reports.

The ruling Congress-led PDF, is reportedly set to host the second addition of the Monolith Festival this year at the heritage village with an increased fund of Rs. 40 lakh for the four-day event. However, Basaiawmoit has questioned the decision of the EC to hike the fund allocation for the second edition of the festival.