Tribute to Wycliffe

Editor,

Your writing on Wycliffe Syiem had influenced and forced me to take a pen and convey to you the enthusiasm of my heart to see that there is still an intellectual who could analyse the true spirit of love to its jaidbynriew of this great son of U Hynniewtrep. I do not know whether I was lucky or unlucky to have met him during the 60’s (sixties) in West Khasi Hills. Only his stature and personality convinced me that he belonged to the royal family of a distinguished order.

The write-up of yours urged me to send the copy of his letter kept by my late father in his personal file. I do not known whether it will have any meaning or values to you. I leave it to your wisdom. I believe you can go down its depth to analyse more about this great figure and let the generation know that we had more great people in the past than we do today today, whose footsteps must be followed if we really desire to save the jaidbynriew.

Your etc.,

T.R. Shanpru

Way to go people!

Editor,

It is heartening to note that at least some people in Jaintia Hills who have been severely affected by unscientific limestone mining and the presence of polluting and extremely exploitative cement plants in their areas have finally woken up to the certainty of forever losing their lands, rivers, etc if something is not done right now to save these lands and rivers for the future of their own children, grandchildren, etc. That they have stopped depending on the government which had grievously compromised on their interests is also encouraging. This is in reference to a news item titled” JH villagers warn of moving SC on Cement Company”

In this regard, some people I met have often wondered why the people of Jaintia Hills have so far not taken a leaf out of what the people of Shella Confederacy had secured by winning their case in the Supreme Court against the mighty multinational company, M/s Lafarge Cement Company Limited. In a landmark and possibly path breaking verdict dated July 6, 2011 which also marked a major victory for tribals anywhere in India, the Supreme Court in its judgment on Writ Petition (C) No.202 of 1995( available for  perusal on the internet) laid down far reaching and stringent conditions for granting various permissions and clearances for mining and setting up/expansion of industries in tribal areas of the country.

The Judgment inter-alia laid down the following conditions on M/s Lafarge Cement Company to follow:-

  1. Mining should be scientific and should adhere to the various Laws and Acts of The Central and State Governments which protect the environment.

  1. M/s Lafarge had to deposit Rs 55 crores with 9% interest w.e.f. 1st April 2007 as compensation for damages caused to the environment.

  1. To deposit a sum of Rs.90/- per tonne of limestone mined with a Special purpose Vehicle constituted under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to cater to the development of Shella Area which includes Education, Health, Agriculture and Infrastructure development etc ( it was noted that funds lying with  the SPV upto 31st March 2016 stands at Rs.148 crore. Besides the above, the residents of Nongtrai Village are benefitting in some other ways)

The above are only a few of the  conditions set by the Supreme Court for mining by companies in the state. But what is important is that there already exists a legal precedent  that has the potential to impact on the manner by which mining is carried out in the state and on the quantum of benefits doled out to stakeholders by cement companies in Jaintia Hills which by all accounts amounts to less than peanuts .

In conclusion, I would like to state that in my humble opinion, the Jaintia Hills villagers mentioned in the cited news item may perhaps first approach our High Court to invoke the mentioned SC judgement.

Yours etc.,

Samuel Swett

Shillong-2

Retired but not retired 

Editor,

A question which has been bothering many citizens is this: When does a bureaucrat really retire from service and what good has he done for the society?  We have seen bureaucrats who had retired from regular service some 10 years back, still holding government positions and heading institutions, committees and commissions. In every commission, committee or undertaking of the Government one will find a retired bureaucrat holding a top position as if their service is invaluable. If it was so invaluable they should have contributed that during their service career and made a difference in the life of the citizens. It seems that without them our state would collapse. One will find that some position or the other is invariably found vacant or newly created once a bureaucrat nears retirement and such position continues till kingdom come.

Irrespective of whether the post requires technical, managerial or other expertise, a retired bureaucrat smoothly fits into any position On the other hand our qualified professionals are unemployed running from pillar to post to find a job and the state itself is in the doldrums and struggling to pay salary to its employees. If our bureaucrats had been so efficient, Meghalaya would have been a leading state by now.

Take the case of a Committee which was set up with retired bureaucrats to amend the rules of State Government. It was a simple task which should have been completed in 6 months. If I am not mistaken, the Committee is still in existence and all the benefits of re-employment with all perks are surely being enjoyed by the members. Such issues raise many questions in the minds of the citizens. Are these cases of quid- pro- quo or something else? Of course there are many good and upright retired bureaucrats who have held their heads high even after retirement and set examples but there are many who have taken the maximum benefit from the system and continue to do so even after retirement. After all how to let the power and benefits go, having enjoyed to the fullest during their service life!

The Indian bureaucracy should have been the shining light to the countrymen and should have set an example for the citizens to look up to and follow. The life and works of the earlier ICS officers still make us proud. Unfortunately the opposite is happening in our country today. No wonder many young bureaucrats are giving the service a go-by.

Look at the advantage taken by our state bureaucrats in grabbing the land at New Shillong and building houses for themselves when this land should have been developed to accommodate the poor citizens of the state. Not only have they grabbed land but they are also taking benefit of their position to build roads and electricity lines at Government cost. A little investigation will expose the people behind this land grab and the real picture of the advantage taken by them. The bogey that having served the state, bureaucrats are entitled to own a house does not hold water because there would not be a single bureaucrat who would not be owning more than one house either in their own or spouses name, either in Shillong or outside. Apart from the bureaucrats there would be thousand other employees who would also have served the state. Why are they not entitled to similar benefits? This is purely taking advantage of one’s position and twisting the system for the benefit of the brotherhood. These are shameful matters which are happening in our state and there is a need to expose them. The bureaucrats were appointed to uphold the constitution of the country, exhibit   fairness and honesty but sorry to say they have ended up looting the system.

Yours etc.,

B Lyndem

Shillong-3

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