The news report that the the MPSC is to get a new Chairperson only next year (ST 23rd August, 2013) is a set back to those who aspire to get employment this year as well as to those who feel that the State need urgent manpower in different streams to set the wheels rolling in the affairs of the State. In fact, in the ST poll result of The Shillong Times published the next day, 87% feel that the MPSC Chairman should be appointed immediately. The delay in the appointment of a Chairperson by the State Government therefore goes against the will of the people. Many feel that the long wait of the State Government with the intention of giving a chance to the present Chief Secretary to take over the post after his retirement is not only outrageous but a downright insult to quite a few of the deserving people in the State from which one could at least have been considered for taking over immediately after the last Chairman retired. It makes one downright angry too. Why the preference for the present Chief Secretary is astounding because all these years and till date when he has also been allowed to simultaneously hold the post of the Chief Secretary of the State as well as the post of Chairman of the MeECL, the public has often been discontented with the performance of the MeECL. In a snippet of the India Today magazine dated 15th July 2013, it was stated that GK Pillai, the ex Home Secretary of the Government of India has been in post retirement wilderness since he retired two years ago while some of his contemporaries have been made Lt Governors and Governors of Union territories and States respectively. It was however stated in the snippet that Mr Pillai is an upright bureaucrat. Perhaps he was not rewarded for being upright. In a special report of the same magazine dated 19th August 2013 it was stated that pliant officers in the government are usually rewarded with post retirement assignments. It is hoped that this is not why the State Government wants a particular individual to be appointed Chairperson of MPSC because if it is so, the Commission will definitely lose its credibility at the expense of the prospective candidates.
The matter relating to the delayed appointment of a full fledged Chairman of the MPSC is a hot topic today. The majority are of the opinion that the Chairperson should have been appointed immediately If I am not wrong the previous Chairperson of the Commission was appointed on the recommendation of a Search Committee specifically constituted by the Government to select the right person for the post and the Chief Secretary of the State heads that Committee. Ideally the Committee should have sat well ahead of time before the retirement of the previous Chairperson so that an immediate appointment is made thereafter. It is close to a year now after the previous Chairperson retired and it understood that the Committee is yet to sit.. The public wonders why there is inordinate delay on this matter. And while they are used to Government procrastination even on important issues, they feel that the delay this time has gone too far. Last heard was that the Government is waiting for the present Chief Secretary to retire so that he takes up the post. What is understood is that this will be for another four or five months. Now this is patently unfair . It seems as if this Chief Secretary is so sure of taking up the post himself that he must have concluded that the search is already over so people should wait for him even if it is for a long time. As reported in the Shillong Times on the 28th August 2013, he even stated that the Chairperson is to be appointed only after the members of the Search Committee are selected. Does it mean that there are no existing Members in the Commission now or have all these members reached retirement age or are going to complete their term in the Commission prior to the retirement of the Chief Secretary? The public and particularly the youth are not to be taken for a ride with this antic of the State Government. An important institution like the MPSC cannot be left without a full fledged Chairperson for one full year. Can one imagine the UPSC to be in such a position as well ?All hell would break loose instead.
Thoughtlessness not thoughtfulness
I was very pleased with myself while driving down the Jowai road to Dhanketi as I noticed the earth cutting at the Minister’s Bungalow before Assam House, thinking that some thoughtful soul of a Government officer has taken a decision to widen the footpath which will ease the pedestrian’s plight, specially the school children around the area. Alas! The following day I realized that a retaining wall is instead being built thereby constricting the width of the footpath even more. How could I have ever dreamt that there would be thoughtfulness from the elite parents of public representatives and Government officers who have no experience of walking on these footpaths? The children of these elites travel to school only in cars. Widening this small section of even 30 ft. length, the width can be determined by experts in their arm chairs will make a big difference.
The harrowing experience when one walks on the footpaths around Shillong can fill up pages. From ankle breakers to death traps, we have it all. This small letter I hope would arouse the consciousness of the Aam Aadmi. I have also not lost hope that some conscience will prevail over thoughtlessness and turn it into thoughtfulness.
Name withheld on request