NEIGRIHMS: Hospital for the poor
NEIGRIHMS is located at Mawdiangdiang around 15 Km from Shillong. It can be approached from Umpling as well through Itshyrwat gate beyond which the road connects the NH6.This health care centre has proven to be the saviour of our poor in every aspect, be it fees for diagnostics, treatment and hospital fees. The private diagnostics centres are too expensive (almost 4 to 5 times the cost) compared to this hospital. And with unsavoury stories on social media of Covid treatment in private hospitals and of high inconceivable cost NEIGRIHMS is a boon.
NEIGRIHMS is fully equipped in all departments required and manned by specialists and well-trained doctors. Even patients from Bangladesh throng the hospital.
However although the distance to this health care institution is not much the problem is with accessibility due to the traffic snarls all along the roads leading to NEIGRIHMS. With the odd-even arrangement taxi fares have shot up five-fold and the shortest route through Umpling via Rynjah is now out of bounds and has been for the last two years as the Bailey bridge was dismantled with the idea of reinforcing it with cement. This was much before Covid threw us out of gear. No one has any idea why the bridge is left unfinished even though it is less than 50 metres in length.
With the advent of Covid the Government got ample excuse to leave it incomplete and even today it remains so. The people of Umpling people suffered a great deal as they now have to take the route via Lapalang which means many more kilometres added to the distance. It is nightmare especially for school children and for ambulances headed for NEIGRIHMS.
It is very unfortunate that our PWD minister is blind to the woes of not only the people of Umpling but most importantly the patients who can only afford to be treated at NEIGRIHMS. When the NPP candidate won the Mawryngkneng seat,the people had some hope as one of his agenda was to resume the work of constructing the Umpling bridge. Alas! till date there is no sign of his sincerity at all. Election promises begin before polling and get hijacked on the day of swearing in. Last heard the brand new MLA had said he would turn Umpling into a model village. Perhaps that will happen if he is re-elected in 2023.
Of VoPP Party
I have just gone through the letter to the editor, “VoPP is born; all the best” by J. Kharmih (ST November 22, 2021). My view is that we, the 20,35,060 voters of Meghalaya, do not expect the miniscule brand new VoPP under the firebrand leadership of Ardent Basaiawmoit to work miracles to restore the honour and dignity of Meghalaya during and after the upcoming general elections in 2023 or even after it.
First and foremost, there is no honour and dignity in politics and governance in Meghalaya so far; not since 1972. At least we have not witnessed that even once. The VoPP, since its launch a few weeks ago has spelt out that one of its top priorities is to provide the people of Meghalaya politics with a difference; clean politics and clean governance. We hope that this objective can be fulfilled by the new party if it can convince the people, is trusted by them and is finally elected by the voters of Meghalaya.
We still remember that in earlier years Ardent Basaiawmoit had toured to many places in Khasi and Jaintia Hills to preach and convince people to vote for politicians that are clean and above all free from corrupt practices. Even church organisations especially frontal wings of churches were vehement in creating awareness among voters to distance themselves from taking bribes for votes. But, in spite of these exercises voters are still inclined to vote for candidates who can provide them with hard cash and freebies during elections. On the contrary, quite a few religious leaders including pastors, priests and elders unashamedly hobnobbed with candidates, especially with the rich ones, in the name of their parishes, presbyteries, zones or branches and seized the opportunity to ask for pecuniary help at the height of the elections.
I only hope that with the VoPP adding to the crowd of parties in the political arena the Meghalaya voters will have more options to choose from the existing parties. However, this means more fragmentation of votes which will enable some lucky candidates or parties to win the elections or the other way around.
I agree with J. Kharmih that the 2023 election results will favour those who have money power to buy not only the votes but also the voters because without the voters the candidates cannot get the votes.
Another aspect that I want to correctly place on record here is that the average number of voters in Meghalaya in each of the 60 constituencies is around 26,000 and not 15,000.
Online exams lack credibility
I agree with Marbianglang Rymbai ( ST, November 23, 2021) that the NEHU model of offline examination has vitiated the quality and standard of education in the State. No matter on what platform an examination is taken, online examinations can be especially vulnerable to cheating like screen sharing with other exam takers and doing online searches during the exam.
NEHU in its online examinations conducted from 2020 did not even use any Online Examination Platform- an examination which does not qualify to be called an Online Examination System or Open Book Examination, where teachers devise questions that require students to answer in more analytical and critical ways, thus encouraging a high order of thinking skills in students. The type of questions in the recently held online exam of NEHU are of a lower order based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
As a parent my main concern is the consequences of online classes and examinations on the academic intelligence and emotional life of our students. I urge NEHU and its stakeholders to revert to offline examination in order to ensure the highest standard of academic honesty. I don’t see any reason why offline exams cannot be held when most college students have been vaccinated.