While I applaud the DGP’s decision to implement the Supreme Court order on use of tinted films in cars, I am a bit puzzled as to why he does not take similar strong action against more serious traffic offences that occur on a minute by minute basis in Shillong. For example, the use of white HID lights on cars and bikes is capable of causing serious accidents by blinding oncoming traffic. There has been no attempt by the traffic police to rein in this menace despite several letters in the newspapers. Why? Another is drunken driving, but again not a word about taking steps to control this menace which is the prime cause of fatalities on our roads (ahead of tinted films, I would like to add). The rashly driven empty coal trucks come a close second after drunken driving but the cops seem to care less about how many people these trucks kill on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. A real irritant and traffic jam causing menace has been the misuse of red and yellow beacons on “VIP” cars. I have written several letters in the past pointing out that the police need to check this problem because more than 80% of such vehicles are not entitled to use these lights. But no step has been taken to address this menace.
May one ask the DGP what is his order of priority is when it comes to traffic policing? Serious offences seem to be taken lightly, and these endanger people more than tinted films! I request the police to stop cherry picking when it comes to tackling traffic problems.
Whither mining policy?
At the risk of being arrested for questioning the intentions of Dy CM, Bindo Lanong (as has befallen a well-known journalist/writer in recent times), I will still take the plunge and ask the honourable minister what exactly he has done with the long-delayed mining policy and why does he hit the roof whenever someone brings it up. It almost looks like the minister has buried the mining policy within the depths of the mines he is protecting and has no intention of ever bringing it to light. At the same time nobody should question him on this sensitive matter, lest he throws them to the wolves (or in this case, cops). What a shame, that an elected representative of the people can behave in this dictatorial manner while sweeping important issues under the carpet! If Mr Lanong is really well-intentioned as he claims, then what is he waiting for? Every day these miners are flouting all the rules in terms of the devastation they are wreaking on the environment (barren hills, poisoned rivers, etc), the child labour they are openly exploiting, and the overloaded trucks that cause sleepless nights to citizens. But our minister prefers to provide cover to these mine owners and duck the question every time it comes up under the pretext of “amendments” and “changes” to the draft policy. This is sheer nonsense and nobody takes these excuses seriously.
I also wonder why our NGOs are silent on such important issues. Instead of behaving like land agents and holding up key development works for personal gain or calling bandhs at every silly opportunity, they should take up causes that really and truly matter. These mines are destroying our future but do these NGO’s care? Are they really ignorant of the huge volume of illegal migrant labour employed in these mines? And when I say illegal, I mean foreign labour from across the border, some mere children. But for reasons best known to them, they prefer to hit out at soft targets and call bandhs and torture the common people. A sad reflection of what has befallen our society in this day and age! Will someone with a conscience within the Government or any NGO please wake up and do something immediately to stop this before its too late?
NCP’S non commitment a blessing to Sangma
It appears that Mr. Sharad Pawar’s opposition to Mr. PA Sangma’s candidature for the presidency is an act of loyalty to the UPA against loyalty to his own party man. However, his display of loyalty to the UPA should be interpreted as a disloyalty towards millions of underprivileged and marginalized tribal communities of India. Therefore this is clearly a battle between politics and ethics, between egoism and altruism. To me it seems to be a blessing in disguise for Mr. Sangma that his party should disown him on this issue. This would make his candidature non-political and purely based on human grounds of justice and equality. It is heartening to see that eminent regional leaders like Ms. Jayalalitha and Mr. Naveen Patnaik lending their voice in support of Mr. Sangma. Their support may be politically interpreted, but one fact is clear that they recognize and respect the personal stature of Mr. Sangma. Disapproved by his own party, Mr. Sangma should emerge stronger as a plausible candidate, a candidate beyond party politics. If we believe that the president of India is a constitutional office and is above politics, then his present position of being almost an independent candidate should only boost his image in this race towards the presidency. We hope that more political parties and political leaders would likewise look beyond their party politics and unanimously support a worthy person like Mr. Sangma to become the President of India.