To gamble or not to gamble
When the State Government proposed to set up a casino in Meghalaya, there was a hue and cry against the proposal from certain quarters. But let us recall that gambling in different forms was very much there in our state even before Meghalaya was created.
There was betting on horse racing in the Polo grounds and even archery betting (then it was illegal). But one of the main reasons why betting on horse racing died out was because it could not compete with the high dividends the public got from archery betting on a daily basis. When Meghalaya was created, archery betting was legalised, lottery was introduced and jackpot machines were allowed to be set up. However archery betting with a daily double betting together with forecast betting offering one of the highest returns became more popular and became a source of revenue for the Government which gave employment opportunities to many.
I have come across many tourists from outside the state visiting the venue of the archery shooting in the afternoon, enjoying themselves while moving around from one betting counter to the next betting on several numbers, after different interpretation of their dreams by the many dream merchants present at the venue; feeling elated when they hit a lucky number which adds to their spending money covered from a one evening of archery betting.
What I’m trying to point out is that gambling in several forms has been here in our State even before Meghalaya was born, but for the State Government to promote Meghalaya as a Gambling destination is wrong and I totally disagree with the idea. Meghalaya is and should always be promoted as a Tourist destination, a Rock capital an Educational hub but surely not a gambling state. But for us to protest that gambling is taboo in Meghalaya is sheer hypocrisy. In fact, casino betting is very much online today and I’m aware of quite a number of people who are in to it.
With the high dividend that archery betting provides on a daily basis, it would be advisable for our ‘cash starved’ state to expand this revenue earning industry to the national and international market as well, with the consent of concerned states and countries, to increase our revenue generation. Improving and expanding the venue of the archery shooting with proper sanitation facilities, sitting galleries, souvenirs and local food stalls, a spacious parking lot besides giving a facelift to the betting counters will turn the arena into another everyday thriving tourist spot besides generating revenue and employment. Beaming the activities live worldwide via the latest technology will generate additional revenue through selling of advertisement rights.
Therefore the question is, should we not properly package and sell this dream based enterprise into another money making industry for the benefit of our State or do we allow this opportunity to go to waste and let it remain as it is today?
Michael N. Syiem,
Need for an upright leader in Rambrai – Jyrngam
As the elections are approaching, there is need for the people to contemplate as to who they should choose as their leader. The election of a good leader and thus a prosperous constituency does not depend entirely on political parties. This is discernible from the fact that even though Rambrai- Jyrngam constituency has been under the leaderships of leaders from dominant and reputed parties there has been very little to zero development in the areas under the constituency. Founded in 2012, the Constituency is one of the most backward and under-developed constituencies in Meghalaya and this is due to the incompetence of its leaders.
The areas which fall under this constituency, do not have proper roads. The roads in the entire constituency are dilapidated and no serious action has been taken to repair them. Thus, this affects the well- being of the people as well as the economy of the area. Travelling, commuting and trade are hampered. Then there is another serious problem that has not been taken care of – the constituency does not have its own C&RD Block, it does not have its own police station, no CHC and no post office. The people still have to go to Nongstoin if they have grievances and problems. When there are cases of petty thefts and when the people need medical attention, they have to travel all the way to Nongstoin or to Mawshynrut block.
Hence the existence of the Rambrai-Jyrngam constituency is not beneficial for the people but only for those holding power over it. Promises were made by the leaders before and at the time when they were winning the elections but these promises have not been fulfilled. The agenda created for the development of the Constituency are being stacked under hundreds of other promises made by the leaders. Recently, the Deputy Chief Minister of the state visited the constituency and promised the people that if his party (NPP) wins, the dream of having a C&RD Block in the constituency will be made possible. These types of promises had been made in the past about bringing or creating C&RD Blocks in the constituency. The leaders had once said that they see the C&RD block is in the “gastrulation period” that after some years it will exist in the constituency. However, it had been years and we have not witnessed the birth of a C&RD Block. Perhaps it is still stuck in the gastrulation period. It is ridiculous and it is a great burden that the Constituency has to carry this dream of having a C&RD Block in its womb for such a long time. The same promises are being made now and it rests on the people to decide for the development of their Constituency. The people should be on guard and should not let themselves be fooled again like they had been in the previous elections.
There is a need for change; a need for the people to understand the problems that exist in the area and a need to understand how as voters they can choose better leaders for the betterment of their own constituency. People need to choose good statesmen and not only businessmen, if they want to see development in their area. The Constituency needs a competent leader who is capable of bringing change and new initiatives for the Constituency. We need a leader who understands the real problems of the people; one who is not all words but who has the capability of taking real action as well.
Tribal President with an eye on 2024
India is well known for its caste and religious politics. Droupadi Murmu was nominated by the BJP to the office of President of India. Droupadi Murmu, a Santhal tribal being elevated to the post is touted as a concern for tribals and their empowerment and upliftment by the BJP. The fact is that, elevation of a tribal to any high office of the country does not fulfil their dreams, considering the actual position of the tribals in India’s politics, society and economy. BJP chose a tribal for the post of President of India to score political points keeping in mind the upcoming 2024 general elections. Shobhaa De in her recent article had raised a pertinent question on political netas who keep alluding to Murmu as the ‘ first tribal President’. She also questioned why constant reference is made to her ‘ poverty.’ Was she elected solely on that basis – for being poor and a tribal?
Elevation of a tribal to the post of President or any other constitutional post will not alleviate the problems of the oppressed tribal, nor will it change the mindset of the mainland Indian towards the tribals. This has been happening in our very own State of Meghalaya. The mainland Indian carries the impression that tribals are inferior to non- tribals.
Marbianglang K. Rymbai,