Apropos the news item published in The Shillong Times under the caption “Ichamati issue spills into city,” (ST Oct 23, 2020), I would like ask this pertinent question. Since when has submitting a representation or filing a complaint before a constitutional head of the Union/state or any other public authorities been made an offence in Meghalaya, following which an FIR could be lodged? It seems here that people, especially the marginalized section, are to forfeit their right to ventilate their grievances before concerned authorities and to seek protection to their life, liberty and livelihood.
The recent developments that took place in Ichamati as gathered from newspaper reports seem to suggest that attempts are being made by some vested interests to silence all voices which speak out against any discrimination or atrocities and which seek protection from the authorities. Above all, what the citizens want from the government is protection to life and property which the government should ensure to its citizens by maintaining law and order. But sadly under the present MDA government, I believe the citizens cannot be said to be safe in the true sense of safety.
It is an admitted fact in the public domain that the present MDA government had miserably failed and showed dismal performance in matters of restoring law and order in the state. The violent incident of May 31, 2018 and thereafter what happened in Bara Bazar area is still fresh in our minds and many are bearing its consequence till date. Thereafter, we happened to bear the aftermath of the violent incident at Ichamati.
After the violent incident of May 31, 2018 that happened in the heart of Shillong city, I, as a concerned citizen and in public interest had submitted a representation dated June 4, 2018 to our Chief Minister with copies thereof to all concerned drawing his kind attention to the deteriorating law and order situation in our state, with a prayer to protect the life and property of citizens. I wonder now, by submitting the above mentioned representation if I had committed any offence. Would the authorities enlighten citizens in this regard?
Hope the present MDA government will do the needful to improve the law and order situation in the state and restore the confidence of the citizens on the government machinery.
Border disputes: different responses
We see from press reports (Times of India, October 20, 2020) that the violence along the Mizoram-Assam Border has been treated seriously by everyone who should be concerned. Firstly, the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah took keen interest and called the Mizoram CM to express regret over the clash and assured him of steps to restore cordial relationships between the two states. Moreover, the Minister for DoNER, Dr Jitendra Singh and the Union Home Secretary also spoke to the Mizoram CM. The Mizoram CM also received calls from the Assam CM and Home Minister who expressed regret over the trouble in the border areas. Secondly, Assam deputed its Director General of Police and other top officials to hold talks with Mizoram officials. The statement by the Assam DGP reveals the conciliatory approach of Assam towards Mizoram. The Assam DGP said “the border issue has to be resolved through a conciliatory approach and not through confrontation”. He added that the first priority is to defuse the tension along the border and to restore normalcy.
Now contrast the above to what usually happens whenever trouble erupts in the Assam-Meghalaya border as a result of Assam’s salami slicing tactics. Firstly, all concerned including Meghalaya do not treat the situation seriously. Forget about the Central Ministers calling our CM to assure him of necessary action to ensure justice. Moreover our CM can never expect expression of regret from the Assam CM or Home Minister as they had done to the Mizoram CM. The Assam CM has never deputed a DGP and other top officials to the Assam-Meghalaya Border whenever trouble erupts. At the most, only officials of the rank of DC are deputed to the border during such times. These Assam officials always speak in confrontational tones towards Meghalaya and the Assam CM even refused to have a Border Commission to resolve its dispute with Meghalaya while requesting for the same Border Commission to resolve its disputes with Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
The above contrasting behaviour in my humble opinion imply that the Centre tends to adopt a conciliatory approach towards relatively ” strong” states like Mizoram and Nagaland while ” weak” states like Meghalaya are treated with nonchalance. Similarly, Assam too adopts the same approach. It defers to Mizoram and Nagaland but acts aggressively against Meghalaya. I hope our leaders are listening but are they?
Govt lacks technical skills
With the increase in the number of graduates every year and the limited employment opportunities, there is also a very low grade professionalism among many government organisations. The fact that there are only one or two placements for any job offerings, makes many graduates with the desired qualifications want to apply but the most annoying fact is that despite the advancement in technology and technical skills, Government organisations like PHE , MeECL, MBDA and others would still not have the facilities for online submission of application forms.
As we all know there are several job openings offered by JJM and of course the contractual post has never mentioned the exact qualifications of the desired candidates. What is mentioned is either Social work/ MBA/ Engineering/ Social science/ management for one single post. Any graduate who would come across the advertisement and needed a job would apply, when they have either one of those qualifications. And in order to apply those candidates would have to go and get a hard copy of their documents and then go all the way to the office to submit those forms if there were no walk-in interviews, which is a pathetic condition especially when there is always some form of nepotism. This is a total waste of time, energy and money for the qualified youth.
There are also some organisations where job applications require cash in the form of challan or bank draft. Online payment methods were especially made to substitute these kind of transactions and with the pandemic it’s all the more important that online payments are facilitated. But that’s not the case with government departments which are still stuck in the mud.
There are a number of programmers and IT graduates who were sponsored by the government and qualified for the JEE (Mains), who would be able to fix these kind of small problems. Government organisations should employ these individuals before employing any other staff, otherwise there is no point in creating a smart city or a smart town.