Revisit state reservation policy
I appreciate Adelbert Nongrum the MLA of North Shillong for raising the long pending issue of reservation policy. The State has reached its 50th year of statehood and it’s high time to do away with the present reservation policy. Why would we need reservation within reservation? It’s been 50 years and the special treatment to any particular ethnic group should be stopped. Let’s compete in an open category for all based solely on merit. For the past 50 years students have suffered in spite of their merits because of this age-old reservation policy. Fifty years ago we agreed to lift one another both educationally and professionally. I believe now we are at par with each other. Why don’t we let the best get what they deserve? Mr Adelbert Nongrum, I hope you sincerely follow up on this issue.
Police must crack the whip
Apropos of the thought-provoking letter by Dr. Omarlin Kyndiah – “Covid19 restriction and Fundamental Rights” (ST Jan 10, 2022), we the people, including governments and their administrative and health departments, are literally caught between the devil and the deep sea. Should we still be confused about the right to our good health and life? Are all other rights not less important than the right to life? One believes, by putting the life of one and all at risk one should not claim his/her personal rights and liberties. Have the repeated and longer periods of lockdowns not virtually knocked down countless households besides bringing the world economy to a grinding halt? This weightless virus has in fact weighed heavily on the entire civilization.
Incidentally, in view of the sudden and rapid rise in the cases of the new variant – OMICRON, each individual citizen should be more serious than ever before. Of course, the government administrative and medical departments have been making relentless efforts to contain the spread. But are we as citizens equally cooperative? No, not at all. I’m afraid, one notices the crowds in public places, seemingly less bothered about the potential danger. At many places about 80% of people are without masks or not wearing them properly, not to speak of maintaining physical distance. Again, a certain group of people uses masks that have not been “washed” ever since they have been purchased. Is it not the most horrific situation? The unclean mask is more hazardous.
I think the police department must crack the whip without further leniency. Along with a reasonable pecuniary fine, effective punishment is a must. How about barring the mobile phone connection of the defaulter for a whole one-whole week for not wearing the mask in public places? This “communication blackout” can hold the defiant down! Yes, when a defaulter cannot use Facebook and WhatsApp for a week this message will spread like wildfire. And in no time the major concerns of flouting Covid regulations by the unruly public gets automatically solved. Let’s use all possible tricks and means to protect and safeguard civilization. Humanity cannot be engulfed by uncertainty for so long.
Before JJM implementation starts in top gear, two statements from the PHE minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar exposes the past and the present history of engineers appointed to do the certification of pipes. The first statement of ensuring quality of materials (ST January 10) is an admission that the quality of pipes used in the past in GSSWS were not good. In the report of ST January 14, the minister says he will give strong orders against the supply of low quality pipes and he will again supervise all the concerned officials to do the work in a proper manner according to the guidelines of the Centre. This after the BJP dared the PHE Minister!
In a country of corporates pushing their products vehemently with lowest bid and percentage ( of course hushed up), it is the customer especially the Government which is in the dark. The best example is the smart meter produced by HPL a company patronised by Satnam Global Infra Ltd. HPL is among the last in the list approved by the Power Ministry. The ones at the top are Schneider of France, Siemens of Germany which has now backed off and Genus of Karnataka. The MeECL’s first experiment with the smart meter which was forcibly connected in one household at Mawlai and became defective after 8 months is a sorry one. For nearly a year now the smart meter remains unrepaired and the consumer has to pay the average bill. The HPL manufactured smart meters puts us Meghalayans at risk.
Is there any solution to quality certification in this murky world of business? In our own State the best quality cement of MCCL which is also reasonably priced loses out to TOPCEM etc. Buyers are greatly confused. So too TISCO steel of TATA Jamshedpur loses out to lesser known brands. Buyers today are duped and confused. Who is keeping a watch on quality?
C. Lyngdoh Mawnai
Who do we trust?
Scientists and experts are coming up with new and changed statements on Covid 19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is making statements today that are in contrast to what it made the day before. Yes, I agree, that facts change with research but we ordinary mortals are highly confused. We have now started believing that this pandemic is here to stay and will never go away. A large number of people are now in the grip of psychological and mental trauma.
Moreover, reports of private hospitals and nursing homes charging exorbitant amounts for Covid treatment even for patients with the mildest symptoms compel us to doubt the system. But there is nothing we can do at this moment. We are totally helpless and at the mercy of the system!
We can only hope that the worst will be over soon.
Anjan Kumar Das,
EC ban on rallies
The Election Commission’s (EC) decision to ban all political rallies, roadshows and other processions is praiseworthy. The EC has shown awareness of the fact that the upcoming elections are held in the middle of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. As Covid cases surge at an alarming rate we must never lose sight of the fact that the third wave of the pandemic is tightening its grip.
The EC has banned physical campaign rallies until January 15. No doubt, rallies are an integral part of election campaigns. They provide an opportunity to parties to showcase their popularity, announce their future plans and criticise their rivals. In addition to that, political parties can convince the voters about why they deserve their votes. As per the directions of the EC political parties need to switch to digital mode of campaigning. While the attempts to incorporate technology with election campaign is commendable, it has disadvantages as well. Voters who are not tech savvy are at a disadvantage. True, restrictions need to be imposed whenever required. When election campaigns are allowed without any restrictions, people will behave as they wish. In the absence of strict restrictions the second wave of the pandemic had caused a catastrophe in the country. We cannot afford to repeat such a folly.
By ordering a ban on rallies, the EC has sent a clear message to people about the possibility of a public health emergency. It would be better if the Commission extended the duration of the ban. It is now the responsibility of the EC that the restrictions are implemented strictly. Political parties must devise plans to reach out to people without mass gatherings.