Sunday, February 25, 2024

How not to have terror

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Editor,

 The last bomb blast has given us a timely wake-up call to do something concrete to deal with terror. It is unfortunate that we have been defeated by our enemies, who have left us with no option but to avoid the risk of security lapse. No other country in the world offers such a bad choice to its citizens. By tightening security measures we might avert further bomb blasts in our country but that cannot be considered a permanent remedy. India must re-examine its national policies, particularly those that pertain to India’s internal and external affairs and defence matters, let alone international relations and diplomacy.

 The pattern of terrorist activities carried out by the jehadi terrorists in different parts of our country reveals the exact motivation behind the hate and violence. We need to combat the terrorists’ game of deception. Saving India – nay, the world – from another disaster is everybody’s responsibility. As a Muslim apostate who embraced Christianity, I am confident that by practicing Jesus’ principles of love for friends and enemies alike, we will successfully bring peace and goodwill on earth, let alone India.

 Yours etc.,

 Omar Luther King

 Delhi -110034

 Work permit- NGO hypocrisy

 Editor,

 Once again the NGOs are on the warpath. This time it is against the failure of the State Government to implement the so called Work Permit system. I wonder as to what is the so called ‘Work Permit’ system all about and how would the system work against influx when our check gates in the borders are so porous for obvious reasons. By introducing the Work Permit system we are merely aiming at treating the symptoms and not rooting out the cause . The disease will keep on recurring. Moreover, the system has its fallout as vested interests would use it as a means of extortion, where those who pay get their labourers in and those who do not are harassed. It is understood that such extortion has already been going on down the years even without the legitimacy of the Work Permit system .

 Incidentally, I do not understand as who why these NGOs are blind to the fact that coal mining activity in the State is the major cause of influx. Thousands of outsiders who are suspected to be even from other neighboring countries are involved in coal mining and in auxiliary activities. These outsiders not only destroy the social fabric but are responsible for many other adverse influences which are already detrimental to the local populace. Why these NGOs take interest to even mention about such influx is a suspense to many. It is hypocrisy of the highest order and there’s more to this than meets the eye. Some of these NGOs recently intended to do moral policing. I would strongly advocate that instead of doing moral policing in Shillong, they should take up influx policing in the coal mining areas . If the NGOs have the courage and the conviction let them do this instead of eyewashes such as bandhs or blockades. I am sure that eighty percent of the influx problem would be solved.

 Yours etc.,

 Skhembor Laloo

 Via email

 Why blame Forest Dept?

 Editor,

 The letter of Ashok Mehta, ‘Preserving just 5% of Meghalaya forests’ is quite confusing. As I understand, the Forest Rights Act, 2006 is to be implemented by the Tribal Welfare Departments of State Governments. I also am told that the Department has the Social Forestry and Wildlife Divisions which carry out activities mainly outside the Reserved Forests. Few examples are the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve which has got recognition by UNESCO and the popular tourist spots like Thangkarang and other parks and sanctuaries. Most green cover outside Reserved forests are a result of Social Forestry plantations on private lands.

 Since deforestation of Oakland and such areas around Shillong will continue as these lands are not directly controlled by the Forest Department, the solution is convert more of such wooded areas and government leased lands to Reserved Forests for better protection like in other States. The system should also be made conducive to enable proper implementation of forest laws. However this may not be possible as strict regulations will curb activities of many rich and powerful, coal and cement barons, and timber merchants who actually support the government in return for free hand to exploit natural resources. Lack of industrialization and income generating activities like farming, animal husbandry, handicrafts etc has also compelled people to exploit natural resources for their livelihood. Environmental conservation actually requires a co-ordinated approach by many Government departments with active co-operation of people and this I feel will help the Department in carrying out it’s job effectively.

 Yours etc.

 Donovan P,

 Via email

 “The Great Concession of 2011”

 Editor,

 “Government Concedes, to pay College Teachers’ Arrears,” announced the headlines! What a pleasant surprise! Perfect with my morning cup of tea! Now I can go back to my normal duties. After all, we college teachers are not used to agitations, at least for the past ten years or so. So unused am I to agitations that I only mime during slogan-shouting and my fist salute is like an empty threat held out to a two-year old grandchild by an old, retired and unpensioned college teacher! Whatever our grievances, we had simply been trying to get them redressed through talks – talks which had ended in lecturers being lectured off about their noble duties and sacrifices of allowances and pensions! And now, as we reluctantly embark upon the path of confrontation, we feel happy that we can go off this path, because the government has relented! Nevertheless, let me go through the whole news, I have the time; after all we are on “total ceasework.” The state government would be paying 20 per cent of the arrears and the remaining 80 per cent would be paid by the Centre, said the news item! This was exactly what the education minister had said earlier, when the teachers were about to begin their first phase of agitation – that the state government would be paying 20 per cent of the arrears and the remaining 80 per cent would be paid by the centre! The news item is the same as that of two weeks back or so, only the headline has changed! So, where is the concession? Apart from release of arrears, there are three more demands of the MCTA. So what the government has relented to is to 20 per cent of 25 percent of the MCTA’s demands. If after months of pressure from my son for a pair of shoes, I give him a pair of shoelaces, will that amount to finally conceding to his demands? In the absence of a unanimous understanding of what amounts to conceding to demands, the present situation will carry on, where in all likelihood, I will have the time every morning to go through the stale news beyond the headlines!

 Yours etc.

B.S. Lyngdoh,

Shillong-1.

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