Assam: Outreach program by Hailakandi administration to remote Riflemara



As part of the outreach program, Deputy Commissioner, Keerthi Jalli visited hard-to-reach Riflemara area close to the inter-state Assam-Mizoram border.

With senior officials of the administration and heads of departments in tow, Deputy Commissioner, Jalli trudged along for several kilometres negotiating mud and slush, undulating terrain, rickety bamboo bridges and rivulets amidst inclement weather to reach Riflemara, a place mostly inhabited by Reang people of around 5,000.

The local people greeted the Deputy Commissioner and the officials in a traditional manner with showering of petals to the accompaniment of dhol and cymbals.

The Deputy Commissioner interacted with the people to get first-hand account of the problems being faced by them. Jalli listened intently to the litany of woes, as development is a far cry for Reang tribals in this nondescript hamlet.

While some problems were redressed on the spot, others were given a timeframe for solution by the Deputy Commissioner. Jalli received a memorandum from the village headman listing various problems plaguing the local people.

Assuring the people of the administration’s help and support to overcome the problems, Jalli told them that her intention of coming here was to get first-hand knowledge of the problems and to bring the administration closer to the people, especially those living in far-flung and inaccessible areas. “We have come here so that you get basic amenities and other benefits of the State and Central Governments,” quipped Jalli to the thunderous cheers of the gathering.

Creating awareness on various government welfare oriented schemes and on health and hygiene and nutrition also forms an intrinsic part of the outreach program. A health camp was organised by the Health department in which medical check-up was done including free distribution of medicine.

Take away ration and seeds were also distributed. Even safe delivery kit was distributed to the pregnant women. Said District Programme Manager, National Health Mission, Maruf Alom Barbhuiya, “The safe delivery kit to women in advance stage done at the initiative of the Deputy Commissioner is not to encourage delivery at home but given to handle emergency case as sometimes reaching to a health centre from a remote place like Riflemara may not happen on time.”

The sub centre is in a dilapidated condition. ANMs and other health workers visit the place. The nearest health dispensary is at Jamira, 10-km away from Riflemara. “In terms of distance it’s not far off. But there is no road worth the name and this makes it very difficult to carry a patient to Jamira,” said Bipin Reang.

Villagers are hoping that the coming of Deputy Commissioner with senior officials of various departments will bring in a new wave of development to their village that has remained neglected for decades.

Under the pilot programme of Jonogoner Dware Sushason (governance at your doorstep), the Deputy Commissioner, with heads of different departments in tow, is visiting remote and inaccessible places to inquire into problems, which would, in turn, enable the administration formulate a comprehensive development plan in the upcoming fiscal.

Explains Deputy Commissioner, Jalli, “It is often seen that many local issues do not come to the fore. It costs money and time to travel from remote villages to district headquarters to get the issues resolved. Hence, it was felt that governance can go to these villages to get a first-hand account of local issues and concerns.”

Assistant Commissioner Parikshit Phukan, who is a regular member of Team Hailakandi touring far-flung areas adds: “Though the district administration holds Public Grievance Redressal Day every Tuesday, it is difficult for the people from remote areas of the district to come to the district headquarters to ventilate their grievances. That is why the administration has embarked on a mission to move closer to the people living in remote areas to listen to their woes and resolve local issues.”

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