Action speaks louder than words

Editor,

In October’ 2012, the office of District Medical & Health Officer, Tura had issued prohibitory orders in the “Salanti Janera” to all the concerned producers and traders in the district who are involved in the production, sale of bottled correction fluids as well as bottled thinners of any chemical composition (ink erasing purposes, nail polish removers and similar other purposes etc.), stating that all are banned in the state of Meghalaya with immediate effect. Compliance time was within one month. The reason behind the ban was that all the above named materials was that young people indulge in sniffing or inhaling the hallucinating fumes from it through their nose or mouth and thereby being intoxicated. While these fluids may give a temporary pleasure they do much harm to the human person as they too are intoxicants.

Juvenile delinquency has increased by leaps and bounds in the past few years. Prolonged use of such substances has led to the sudden rise in school drop-out rates, a general moral break down of society thereby pushing the young to commit criminal offences such as rape, theft, murder and joining militant groups etc. Interestingly till date I find many of the shops in the market still doing brisk business and openly selling the banned products and no punitive action has been taken on the person, who conspicuously violates the order. On the contrary, the District Drug Inspector and the whole DM&HO is still in deep slumber and unwilling to act on its own orders. Does the Health Department really care for the well-being of society? Or do they only merely attend the office for the monthly salary? If they have done their duty well (periodical inspection) then these substances would have been pulled off the shelves a long time ago. Sometimes, I wonder how shops dare to sell the banned products in the market/shop under the very eyes of the concerned drug inspector and DM&HO. Is the Health Department having a nexus with businessmen? Or was the Order a mere departmental publicity stunt?

Yours etc.,

Shoshon A.gitok Sangma,

Tura

Travails of using public transport

Editor,

Currently there is a fleet of city buses plying on different routes of the city of Shillong and its suburban areas, under the control of Department of Transport. However these buses are not guided by any regulations about the frequency of movements. The city bus services that existed during the 60’s to the 90’s under the management of Shillong City Bus Syndicate was far better because the Association used to keep some specified check points on all main roads of the city and thus maintained a regular flow of city buses in and around the city. Now, although there are more Government run SPTS buses besides some mini cab, but during the peak hours and in the absence of SPTS buses, daily commuters are compelled to avail the services of local taxis by paying more than the prescribes rates fixed by the local administration. Travel is also uncomfortable as the taxis are overcrowded. Before the advent of the SPTS the local taxi owners monopolised the business. To safeguard the interest of passengers, the local administration imposed some legitimate restrictions on the movement of local taxis with regards to passenger fare, accommodation of total passengers in a taxi and etc. But these have been flouted with impunity. The district administration too deliberately remained silent on the issue, since no complaint has so far been registered. Recently while travelling from Laitumkhrah point to NEEPCO area in a Maruti-800 taxi along with three other passengers, the taxi driver insisted that we wait for few minutes and in the mean time took three more passengers and asked us to adjust ourselves in order to accommodate the rest.

When I protested the taxi driver asked me to disembark forthwith even though I had already paid Rs 10 as fare when I boarded the taxi. In a city of undulating topography, taxis are the only mode of surface communication hence taxi services cannot be ignored outright. But they have to be strictly regulated. I wish to draw the attention of the District Administration to the plight of taxi passengers.

Yours etc.,

P B Das ,

Shillong-3

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