War on narcotics


Pockets of Shillong are witnessing a rise in drug-related crimes. In the past weeks the law enforcers conducted counter-narcotics programs using community-based intelligence which has worked wonders on a temporary scale but this is a long war which will test the mettle of governments now and later. In this game of interests the lines are blurred from traffickers to a porous border along the North Eastern corridor. What we have not witnessed is the rise of rival cartels backed by corrupt states similar to situations in Mexico or Honduras. Unemployment is a matter of grave concern as each year students are getting out of institutions with degrees but no jobs. Technically, the distribution channels of narcotics are gaining ground in cyberspace too.
Legalisation and decriminalization have always been on the cards but whether they will be implemented in letter and spirit is a debatable matter. We cannot be swayed by the capital punishment in Singapore or the failed Plan Colombia to draw a roadmap for ourselves, but the answer lies deeper than the series Narcos. Antony Loewenstein’s Pills, Powder and Smoke (Inside the Bloody War on Drugs) weaves it beautifully on this powerful multi-billion dollar industry which will not yield submissively.

Yours etc.,

Christopher Gatphoh,

Via email

NEHU in shambles


Apropos the letter ” Plight of NEHU students by Wilbert Thangkhiew (ST, July 15, 2022) I wholeheartedly endorse the views of the author. Being a victim of the issues highlighted issues in Wilbert’s letter, it’s even more frustrating to realise that you’re not the only person struggling but a part of a larger disgruntled group. NEHU has become a den of politics for personal vendetta and vested interests. Many Vice-Chancellors have come and gone and we, the indigenous people, who have had multiple generations graduating from this university, feel sorry to witness the gradual downfall of this once esteemed institution. From having professors under CBI scanner for taking bribes from research scholars in broad daylight, disruptive forces meddling with everyday affairs to officials guilty of dereliction of duty from time immemorial, it seems NEHU has come a full circle with the appointment of the current Vice Chancellor.
The VC is always out of station and a simple task of issuing a bonafide certificate takes more than two weeks to process. Whenever someone tries to raise an important issue there is an acting VC in office with no responsibility. Perhaps, employees in NEHU have gone into retirement mode with the VC eternally being away from the helm of affairs. So, the question is, are all VC’s expected to be in Delhi for the majority of their tenures? I believe hefty salary and facilities makes the man affluent enough to neglect his primary duty of serving the state and the nation through quality education. The grapevine is abuzz that the VC has constructed a new chamber for himself from taxpayer’s money while vehemently giving false assurances of improving hostel facilities amidst crunch for funds.
The Tura Campus has received step-motherly treatment with false assurances time and again. The question to be asked is how did NEHU find itself in such a situation of giving a 15- day time frame to casual workers, 7- day time frame to Tura Campus and again 15- day time frame to the students to meet their demands which has lapsed a long time ago?
I hence urge the Chief Minister, all stakeholders and particularly the Chief Rector- the Hon’ble Governor to initiate an academic audit to draw a comparison of how many days the VC has been in station and the reasons for his travels out of state. This culture of having institutional leaders being a law unto themselves should be done away with once and for all. And still, if the VC does not understand, which seems very likely, we do have a popular English coaching institute- ‘ Avenues’ in Shillong.

Yours etc.,

Benny Shira,


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