Monday, July 22, 2024

Be impartial, Mr Speaker, sir!


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I read with much amusement the remarks of the incumbent Speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly as reported in your paper on February 16, 2021. He was quoted saying that the ‘state government will try to end the agitation of the commercial vehicle associations.’ He was further quoted saying, “I was trying to reach the Chief Minister but he is in Tawang. I have discussed the issue with the Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong and we will try to end this agitation.”
The Honourable Speaker should be reminded that as mandated in the Indian Constitution, his duties are limited to conducting the proceedings of the legislative assembly in a smooth and impartial manner, and the dignified chair that he currently occupies is a symbolic representation of fairness and impartiality. He represents the House and all its members, and not only a section of it. Therefore, he is not expected to function as the mouthpiece of the Government. Resolving the present impasse is the prerogative of the Chief Minister and his cabinet and not that of the Honourable Speaker, and one can hardly recall any former functionary of such a high and dignified office articulating on behalf of the state government.
The incumbent Speaker should read some of the erstwhile newspaper records and proceedings and take cognisance of the demeanour of his predecessors.
For instance, the hallmark of impartiality and democracy in the history of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly happened between 1983-1988. Captain Williamson A. Sangma of the Congress had wrested power from Mr Brington Buhai Lyngdoh after the fall of the MUPP government which was in power for barely a few weeks after the 1983 election. Prior to that occurrence, Evansius Kek Mawlong of the HSPDP, a partner in the MUPP, was elected Speaker. Manifesting perhaps the best example of parliamentary ‘democracy’, the Chief Minister Captain Sangma and his party did not dislodge EK Mawlong from the Speaker’s chair till the end of the term in 1988, and he remains the only Speaker in the history of the state to have occupied the dignified chair throughout the five-year-term despite his party being in the opposition. Can we fathom such a scenario now? Perhaps not!
The incumbent Speaker should focus on matters such as legislative conduct and one expects him to act more stringently against erring legislators, particularly those who use vulgar language in the presence of school children. He can take corrective measures beginning with a workshop to improve the communication skills of our legislators. It is most needed to evade the reoccurrence of such revolting behaviour.
Yours etc.,
Banshan Lyngdoh
Shillong – 2

On load shedding & transport strike

I am writing (on behalf of the local people) to express my disappointment on the current situation that is afflicting the State of Meghalaya. I am by profession a software engineer and recently moved to the town with the thought of staying close to my parents and cherishing the good old days of staying here thanks to the work from home (WFH) normal. But, unexpectedly the stay here is getting difficult with each passing day. Water problems, drain leakage, safety and development issues have plagued the State for decades. Adding a new agenda into discussion are the recent taxi strike and load shedding hours. When people from different sectors are indoors and acquainted with the online mode of learning and working, how can you deprive them of electricity? Are we not paying our bills on time?
The idea of power cuts from 9 AM to 12 noon is illogical. Due to the load shedding timings I am compelled to miss my daily scrum meetings and important software delivery. Our organisation has approved the WFH module with a trust that we will bring the same productivity as we do in offices. The network connectivity of mobile operators is even more pathetic. I feel much sorry for my juniors and young students of the state who are preparing for their upcoming exams. “Burning the Midnight Oil” now seems a joke to me because Government has cut the source itself and it does not seem to care. Hence, I request the concerned authorities to either adjust the timings of load shedding or delay it by a few months. Additionally, I request the Government to please bring justice to the people and solve common issues that affect the people of the state.
“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” – Martin Luther
Yours etc.,
Manish Thakur ,
IT professional

FASTag harassment

It is extremely unfo-rtunate that compulsory applicability of FASTag at Toll Plazas on National Highways is rolled out by the Central Government, thereby inconveniencing a large number of travelers. While e-payment facilities should be encouraged, the way it has been enforced is almost draconian. There is a price to be paid for a FASTag kit too. The Central Government would levy 100% penalty on vehicles without FASTag. Further, many of the Toll Plazas are almost within the vicinity of the cities, towns and even villages. Applicability of FASTag was introduced in 2016, but the Government forgot the issuance of FASTag at the time of vehicle registration or renewal thereof. The Government seems to have forgotten the weak, the elderly, the needy, and the poor in the process, as also the minimum convenience of citizens.
It is demanded that the Central Government imme-diately withdraw the compulsory enforcement of this draconian act, and allow payments at toll plazas by cash, etc at normal rates, without any additional charges.
Yours etc.,
D Bhutia
Guwahati – 24

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