Go Shillong, Go Indigo!


I had the opportunity of taking the Indigo flight 6E 7987 from our Shillong Airport which is bound for Kolkata. I’m a frequent flier and have also been taking the Air India flight (Alliance Air) in the past but it had many cancellations and I had to bear the brunt of this. However, my experience with Indigo was somewhat better and I felt I had to write this as a kudos to their entire team.

I was amazed at how our lone airport though at its infancy stage has very professional staff who were courteous and helpful. On reaching the airport, I was astonished to see many passengers  flying that day. I thought since operations by Indigo Airlines had just started, perhaps only a couple of passengers would turn up but I was astonished to see many co-passengers taking that flight. I also had the opportunity of interacting with one of the staff of Indigo who informed me that the flight had always been full since it started its operations and I was really happy to hear  this.

The aviation sector has started booming in this city of ours. We started our departure at 5:05 PM that day and reached Kolkata within one and a half hours. It was on an ATR 72 aircraft and the flight as it is, was totally full. I stayed in Kolkata for some days and returned via the same flight and yes it was completely full. In Kolkata I met friends in Kolkata who are frequent fliers to Shillong. This flight has brought a smile on their faces since Indigo has started operating this route. I’m sincerely looking forward to more flights and more connectivity from our airport and yes thanks to the UDAN scheme of the Central government that we have seen the light of day in the aviation sector in Shillong. We thank Indigo too for taking this bold step of connecting Shillong with the aviation map of the country.

Hats off to Indigo Airlines!

Yours etc.,

Chanmiki Ezra Laloo


Long haul for college teachers


Apropos the letter, “Nepotism in College appointment” (ST Aug 7, 2019) there has been an eerie silence prevailing after volleys upon volleys were hurled by writers who chose to withhold their names for obvious reasons. The silence can only be interpreted as “guilt.” For our candidates equipped with UGC requirements, I understand that the shock was too great to even give a rejoinder, hence I am deeply indebted to the person whose name was withheld for not letting down himself/herself without the argumentative second paragraph. “When UGC rules are that points should be given to candidates with experience, M.Phil., degrees, Ph.D. Degrees, papers presented at conferences and publications, why not some colleges in Shillong give marks to work experience?”

It was in 1974 when NEHU, with the efforts of Professor G.G. Swell, was finally established. As far as the college lecturers post is was concerned, there had been loopholes in UGC rules and norms, which were later plugged thanks to the wisdom and far sightedness of the Commission. Before this could happen, there were amusing cases when a lecturer desiring to add the prefix  Dr. (not allopathic) did their thesis on topics not at all related to the subject taught. The result was a great number of absentees during that teacher’s class (as attendance percentage was not yet in place). Another aspirant, after probationary period cleverly found a reliever who was never screened at all by experts and students bore the brunt. After four years when the doctorate is earned the person taught hi-fi levels in which, for example, Newton’s laws of motion were substituted by new concepts of Black Hole which become blacker and blacker by the day. Thus students saw not only The Great Bear but Milky Ways and others too. Thank God, everything is at present completely overhauled. Getting to teach in Colleges right now requires that the applicant has not only a Ph.D, but paper publications, conference attended and if lucky some teaching experience, for which the employer (Principal) would gladly recommend if the feedback of students is encouraging. That the rejected candidates are from eminent universities is a double advantage, as one could easily have gone through the CBSE texts from IX to XII compiled by professors of IIT’s and Universities. This is the reason why CBSE schools have produced scientists, doctors and engineers; the cream of society in India.

For the person with “name withheld” you have eternity at your disposal, this being your first interview. For our well qualified losers, it has been a shock for you that in spite of your additional efforts you could not make it. It also is a loss to the student fraternity. But the game is not won until the final whistle. Recall Robert Bruce. Nine times the spider attempting to pound on the moth fell down its web. On the tenth time the spider could find not only one moth but another nine. Thus the balance was restored. I have taught in a college for far too long to blindfold me with what goes around. There was a case when technical person taught pure science.

Finally let me tell you that we, a group of about 22  had to approach the High Court to get our 50% G.P.F. and we won the case after more than a year. The wise officer is yet to realize that there is are arrears too in G.P.F. Thus when the chair proves too big, we had to incur a loss of Rs 3 lakhs (not a small amount for pensionless retirees) for legal expenditure and some for transport. So friends, prepare for the worst on climate change, water, plastic menace and the dreaded CAB which is at our doorstep. Be steady; do not panic and keep your head cool.

Yours etc.,

  1. Passah,

Ex H.O.D, Electronics Deptt,

St Edmund’s College.

Pakistan told to moderate rhetoric


Indian government’s effort to rein in Pakistan from voicing its unpleasant remarks against India has started seeing results. In a stern message seen as a snub, US President Donald Trump told Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan via phone conversation to ‘moderate’ his rhetoric against India and ‘avoid escalation of the situation’ in the wake of rising tensions between the two countries on the Kashmir issue.

Ever since the Indo-Pak partition, Pakistan has always been a thorn in the flesh of India since the boundary issues have become the bone of contention, which are yet to be resolved. Moreover, it is always better for two neighbouring countries to remain friendly as this friendly relationship can cause the proliferation of developmental activities. Besides, the military expenditure can be greatly reduced, and the saved amount can be diverted for the welfare of the nation.

In a similar case, USA and Mexico are two countries sharing a 2000- mile border with 55 active ports of entry. Bilateral relations between the two have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans. The scope of US- Mexican relations is broad and goes beyond diplomatic and official relations. It encompasses extensive, commercial, cultural and educational ties, with some 1.7 billion dollars of two-way trade and hundreds of thousands of legal border crossings each day. In addition, 1.5 million US citizens live in Mexico, and Mexico is the top foreign destination for the US travelers.

India and Pakistan share a 2065-mile border with frequent military confrontation across the de facto border in Kashmir. To maintain peace between the two countries, Pakistan essentially needs to respect India and it should never interfere in the internal matters of India. This is the foremost thing and the desideratum towards achieving a treaty between the two countries. Considering the benefits coming out of a possible treaty between the two countries, whatever both the countries forego or forfeit in the interest of reconciliation  is nothing compared to the possible benefits. Take the case of the military expenditure of India.

In the last full-fledged budget before the general elections of 2019, Finance Minister allocated Rs.4,04,365 crore for the Ministry of Defence. If there was no issue with Pakistan, our defence expenditure could have been reduced to either half of the budgetary allocation or one-third. The remaining amount of money can be channelised for developmental activities, which means that our country can become the most modern country with all the basic facilities ensured to the people of the country. In order to remain peaceful both countries should sit together and iron out differences of opinions. If the two countries start investing, trading and cooperating in a number of fields, both can stand to achieve greater things.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email

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