TURA, July 21: Meghalaya Health Minister M Ampareen Lyngdoh, who was due to land in Tura on Thursday evening as part of her tour of the medical infrastructure and interact with health officials has abruptly ended her visit to return to Shillong, on a day dozens of protestors from the ACHIK and other organizations took out a bike rally in Tura against her recent statement voicing opposition to Meghalaya having two capitals, including demand for winter capital in Tura.
The minister had arrived in North Garo Hills district headquarters Resubelpara on Thursday and interacted with officials and farmers of the region at the Mendipathar multi-purpose cooperative hall.
She had also reviewed the status of the Chief Minister’s Safe Motherhood Scheme as well as the figures on the infant and maternal mortality rate.
Accompanied by Mission Director of National Health Mission, Ram Kumar S and Commissioner and Secretary of the state health and family welfare department Joram Beda, she was expected to stay the night at Tura circuit house and hold a review meeting on Friday morning for the three districts of West, South West and South Garo Hills districts.
Instead, the minister’s convoy turned back from Resubelpara enroute to Shillong on Thursday evening.
When queried, West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Jagdish Chelani confirmed that the minister had to cut short her visit due to other pressing matters.
But the primary reason for the minister’s decision to beat a hasty retreat appears to have been the condemnation and protests against her recent statement on the demand for winter capital in Tura.
“She expressed her opposition to the demand of the garos for a winter capital even before the chief minister could give his views and statement. Wasn’t this sending the wrong signal?” questioned some of the protesting members.
Ampareen Lyngdoh’s opposition to Tura as winter capital sparked a powerful reaction from proponents of the demand.
On Thursday, hearing word of her upcoming visit to Tura, dozens of protestors from various organizations, namely ACHIK group, Garoland State Movement Committee, Tura Government College Students Union and the United Garo People’s Front took out a bike rally across the town waving black flags and carrying banners.
They shouted slogans of “Go Back, Ampareen, We demand Winter Capital,” as they passed through the main areas of the town.
Apprehensive about a possible unwelcome situation greeting her on arrival in Tura, the minister decided to play safe and returned to Shillong from Resubelpara.
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