Rejoinder

Editor,

There have been serious allegations time and again in your esteemed newspaper that false installation certificate has been issued by the undersigned to the Turnkey contractor on the alleged non-installation of Smart Meters under the ADB funded project in Meghalaya. This has greatly affected my near and dear ones including myself.
As a responsible officer of a respectable organisation, I deem it necessary to clarify my stand for the information of the general public. That at the time of issuance of the certificate, about 25,000 smart meters had been installed. As on date, more than 28,000 smart meters have been installed out of which, 27,578 numbers have been migrated to the Head End System (HES) as on September 30, 2021.
The installation certificate issued was based on facts and figures as per office records and as indicated in the smart meter portal.
Screen-shot of the smart meters portal showing the status of smart meters installed is enclosed for your ready reference.

Yours etc.,

S B Umdor,

Chief Engineer (Projects),MePDCL

Editor replies: We have spoken to experts on this issue and they maintain that unless bills have been generated from the smart meters, their mere installation does not mean that the terms of the contract are completed. We are also aware that a meeting is being held on October 19 next to discuss the matter relating to generation of smart electricity bills through UGO Billing System of the already installed smart meters numbering approximately 28,000 and generation of normal bills of the consumers already migrated to the UGO billing system. As of date the bills generated from the homes of people that had installed smart meters are the same one generated by the meter reader.

Will MPSC take action?

Editor,

Through your esteemed newspaper, we would like to ask the Meghalaya Public Service Commission whether it is privy to the allegations and pictures that were circulated on social media, in which candidates appearing for the Meghalaya Agriculture Service, written examination appeared to have books, bags and were sitting next to each other inside the examination hall, at Tura Government College. The examination was conducted from October 6-8, 2021.
The situation at Centres in Shillong is an altogether different scenario, where even a pencil bag was not allowed inside the examination hall, forget about other belongings. Candidates were subjected to frisking too prior to entry into the examination hall. If MPSC doesn’t investigate and take action, then we can assume that those involved in such illegal activities have got permission from the Commission to have an open book examination; in other words to literally cheat!

Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request

Shillong

Does Meghalaya need a new counter-insurgency template?

Editor,

Improvised explosives have become the favoured weapon of choice, and certain groups are seeking a revival. The spotlight again is on the management of affairs within the security apparatus of Meghalaya. Recently, intelligence took the backseat again on the latest IED, which was found outside the National People’s Party office, intending to spread terror and undermine confidence. The crux of insurgency lies in the socio-economic problems which plague a particular area or territory such as unemployment, lack of schools, bad roads, flow of illicit drugs and thereby militants seek support from the local populace by promoting political struggles against the government.
Counter-insurgency is equivalent to learning how to eat soup with a knife. It is about grasping all aspects of the situation in which they are engaging, and then understanding principles from past events administering them thoughtfully. Areas of focus are living among the population, locating forward operating bases around neighbourhoods and villages. Strategies designed to minimise force, reducing civilian casualties and winning people over. Kinetic action would just exacerbate the problem. A new security doctrine should be crafted, bringing to bear the human terrain involving the need to understand the local culture, religious tradition and customs.
The book ‘Sling and the Stone’ by Thomas Xavier Hammes, a counter-insurgency specialist, warned that the future battlefield has changed, and the pandemic has shown the way ahead to adapt, improvise and overcome.

Yours etc.,

Christopher Gatphoh,

Shillong-10

Vaccine racism

Editor,

India is justified in returning tit-for-tat to the UK that imposed quarantine rules for Indians that have been vaccinated with two doses of AstraZeneca’s Covishield. Under the UK rules, Indian travelers who have received both doses of Covishield vaccine manufactured by the SII will still be considered “unvaccinated’’. Although the UK has recognised Covishied, it has not yet shown the green signal for Indians. In the wake of the UK’s refusal to remove quarantine rules for vaccinated Indian travellers, India decided to impose reciprocal restrictions on UK nationals travelling to India from October 4 last. India can never be blamed for adopting such reciprocal measures against the UK. Notwithstanding the fact that Covishield is a Covid vaccine of British origin, the UK was firm on its rules. It was unyielding and uncompromising in this regard. By imposing such irrational rules the UK offended Indians and discriminated against them.
According to the new Indian rules, all UK nationals, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to comply with four measures that include RT-PCR test and mandatory quarantine for 10 days. Authorities in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Civil aviation would be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the rules.
The UK’s tough stand on its vaccine rules has been humiliating and insulting to India. Hence, it was forced to take reciprocal measures and decided to give the UK a taste of their own medicine. In the wake of India’s imposition of vaccine rules for UK nationals, the UK is frantically trying to engage with the Indian government to resolve the issue. Countries like the UK must realize that when the world is faced with a health crisis, all must stand together and combat the disease. Prejudice and discrimination must be replaced with mutual help and co-operation.

Yours etc.,

Venu GS,

Kollam

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