Press reporters as ping-pong
As an ardent reader of your esteemed daily, I find some of your reports highly confusing. Take for instance, the opposition allegation that the state is going to lose Rs 100 crore for certain alleged manipulations in the Power Department. The allegation was made by the Opposition both in the media and on the floor of the Assembly and quite expectedly the ruling side flatly denied them. Subsequently, the Leader of the Opposition renewed his allegations in the media which was once again vehemently denied by the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. This is intriguing to me. I wonder on which side lies the truth. These allegations are serious not just because the amount is huge for a small cash-starved state like ours but because the charges are specific in some respects. According to your report appearing on November 28 under the heading “Manipulation in Power projects costs state Rs 100 crore,” it appears that something fishy is going on in the Power Department. The very next day, your paper carried the rejoinder issued by the Chief Minister under the caption “No manipulations in Power projects, says Conrad”. Such flip-flop reports are causing more confusion and do not help in removing the air of suspicion. Of the two – Conrad Sangma and Mukul Sangma one is speaking the truth. The question is which one?
As an independent minded citizen, I wonder why Dr Mukul Sangma, if he was so sure of his facts, did not take legal course by filing FIR or moving the court of law. He has reeled out some statistics of overcharging of electrical equipment. His charges in this respect are specific. Why he can’t adopt a different tactic to take the matter to its logical end is beyond me. Is he not sure of his facts? Is he shooting in the dark? Or is he scared that some of his own omissions and commissions would come under focus?
The other striking feature of this battle of attrition between the two leaders is that the chief minister while flatly denying the charges has clearly launched a counter-offensive against his bete noire. Conrad Sangma has cleverly tried to pay Mukul Sangma back in his own coin when he brought up the prostitution scam in a private guest house at Kenches Trace owned by Mukul Sangma’s Home Minister. This may be politically expedient and shooting the opposition from the hips, but readers like us, have been left wondering why the Chief Minister chose not to repudiate the specific charges of over-billing in Power Department. He could have easily released documentary evidence to settle the matter once and for all. The million dollar question is why didn’t he do so? That answer only Conrad Sangma can give.
However, I wonder why your reporters (or for that matter any reporter) cannot seek documentary evidence from those who make allegations and those who deny them. Press is supposed to be neutral. In this case, they are being used as ping-pongs by the two main political players. I would expect the reporters to seek evidence before putting out such reports whether it be an allegation or rebuttal.
Can we expect, The Shillong Times to take the lead in this respect and unearth the truth? In today’s world, it is not a difficult ask. RTI can be made use of. Or confront the two Sangmas to provide documentary evidence of what they are claiming to be factual. This torture of your readers must be brought to a close.
When one raises any question about this pandemic, one tends to get deluged by a vast sea of facts and figures, mostly of rising number of cases and deaths. The fact that this disease has a recovery rate of about 95 % in India tends to get overlooked if noticed at all. Now a number of questions again assail me. Is a vaccine necessary for any disease with this high a recovery rate? Are these hastily assembled vaccines safe? A lot of rumours abound of severe reactions having been seen in the early volunteers. Is there any truth in this? Why are the trials for these vaccines being carried out in third world countries such as India? Are we the Guinea pigs?
According to a report published in the Lockdown Sceptics, and reproduced by Prashasthi Awashthi in The Hindu Business line on Nov 28, Michael Yeadon, the former vice president and chief scientist of Pfizer claims that the Covid pandemic is effectively over and there’s no need for a vaccine. He goes on to add that you do not vaccinate people who aren’t at risk. You also do not set about vaccinating millions of fit and healthy people with a vaccine that hasn’t been extensively tested on human subjects.
So can we conclude that this fear of a second wave is being created to fuel sales of vaccines by vaccine manufacturers to force people to go for a vaccine – a thing they might not ordinarily do. The greatest tragedy will only be if governments the world over make vaccination for Covid compulsory. This would simply gobble up scarce resources and reduce spending on preventive care and other more pressing health issues
Dr. Tridib Kakoty
Business persons not against ILP
It is saddening that whenever there are any grievances against the Government, we the business community are targeted for no fault of ours. Take the example of December last year when shops and business persons were attacked without any reason, and again this year too there are a few incidents. To be honest we have no interest in Government affairs and request all concerned to ignore us as we just want to do business in peace and are not concerned with matters like ILP, so stop targeting us. Further we request the Deputy Commissioner (DC) to inform us of the list of genuine NGOs as every year people come to ask donation, some even threatening us. We are not against giving donations for a good cause but that should go to genuine organizations. So will the DC instruct every organisation to take permission and get an NOC from the Headman of every locality. Also, no one should be forced to pay. I further request the Government and MLAs to provide us security. We voted for you for a reason, so please fulfill your responsibility.
Name withheld on request,