Like every other Government Department, the Directorate of Food Civil Supplies is in charge of the Technical Management Division. What surprises me is that the Division is run by the Officer on Special Duty (Non-Regular Employee) who was then a Contractual Project Manager and was recently designated/nominated as an OSD by the Department based on his request. The question here is, “Are there no regular officers deserving of that position? What about the Joint Directors, Deputy Directors etc in the Department? As far as I know the OSD has been working on contractual basis for 9 years now and has been pushing the Government for regularization of his post. Is this fair? There are many casual employees in many Government Departments who have been working for 10 to 15 years and are yet to be regularized. If the Government is ready and holding meetings to regularize him for such a big post why not look out for the casual employees in each and every Department and regularize their posts as well, as they really deserve it.
The appointment of staff under the Technical Management Division is another issue that merits discussion. I met some staff working at the Districts/Sub-Divisions and asked them about the Technical Division. As expected it appears that the OSD is running the Division like his own private company where casual employees who have been working for only 6 months to 1 year are on-boarded in the Division at high salaries touching 27,000 and without any interview whereas the salaries of the staff at the Directorate under the Division and at the Districts/Sub-Divisions who have been working for 7 to 8 years are fixed at a mere Rs 12,000, which is less than the daily wage fixed by the Labour Department.
When asked how they manage to run a family with that salary, the answer I got is that they have had a talk with the OSD about this issue and he told them a proposal for increase of salary has been sent to the Government since December, 2021 and awaiting approval. Now the question here is, “Why is the Government delaying the approval for increase of salary of the staff which has been proposed 7 months ago whereas the Government was quick to hold a meeting to regularize the OSD?”
How I wish the Government was more concerned about the needs of the staff and not only of the officers.
A tearful adieu to RG Lyngdoh
It was the most shocking news to learn that former Home Minister RG Lyngdoh had passed away. I have known him personally and his passing is an irreparable loss to the state! A great soul has left this earth untimely!
I vividly remember R.G Lyngdoh, a High School going boy while I was his next door neighbour at Laitumukhra near Ramakrishna Mission. I just joined service as a Government School Teacher and used to rush for the city bus daily at 9 am. Bob would cross me almost every day, and would smile and salute me in the manner of a ‘Scout.’ It was his respect towards a teacher. After long years, during his tenure as Home Minister, Meghalaya, in a public function at U Soso Tham Auditorium, he was invited as Chief Guest and I was also one of the invitee guests. While we were called to the podium to light the lamp at the opening ceremony R.G. Lyngdoh saw me and just like his school going days with a hearty smile offered me a big salute before the audience! I felt embarrassed, but he requested me to go first to the dais, I hesitated and said, ‘You are the Chief Guest here, you go first please’! He replied, ‘But you are a teacher’! Such was his simplicity and respect towards teachers.
Another incident I can recollect vividly was the XVIth AIPC (All India Poetess Conference) Mega National Convention, hosted by the Meghalaya Branch and held in Shillong in February, 2016. On that occasion too R.G. Lyngdoh was invited along with V. Shanmuganathan, the then Governor of Meghalaya, to grace the valedictory function. Fortunately I was called to the podium to receive a Literary Award ‘Lopamudra Puraskar’ for one of my published books. As soon as he saw me RG Lyngdoh welcomed me with his habitual salute and embraced me very affectionately. I was so touched with his warm gesture ! Language fails to express my respectful feelings for the great soul! He was much junior to me; but left an inedible mark in my heart. I repent that I could not visit him to have a last look at this beautiful soul! His ‘Salute’ will be everlasting in my memory! May the Almighty grant him eternal peace!
My warm Salute to you my Beloved Bob!
People’s faith in the judiciary!
Since 2014 with the assumption of powers by the Modi-led BJP government the dynamic role of the judiciary in the country has assumed a new avatar. In my cross interactions with some discerning citizens, they too have more often than not echoed the same views expressing that the core power of the courts has significantly been watered-down. They reiterated that we go to the courts for pursuance of justice and relief but justice is inordinately delayed. Pre-eminent petitions like the revocation of Articles 370 and 354 in Jammu and Kashmir is yet to be heard in the Supreme Court. Cases challenging CAA are also lying in cold storage. Contrastingly, cases favouring the dispensation like the recent Maharashtra’s dramatic political upheavals had been passed in a jiffy, thereby prompting one of the opposition members to aptly dub: faster than Rafael ! Hence the hoi polloi don’t know where to go.
Judicial luminaries too have adopted attitudinal change. Iconic legal personality like our ex-Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi post the judgment of Ayodhya Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid title dispute case in 2019, retired on November 17, 2019. Within a span of four months he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha reportedly with the blessings of the BJP. Subsequently, Justice Gogoi has had to face unpleasant comments from a well-known parliamentarian Mahua Moitra. Lately on July 16, 2022, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot while delivering a lecture on the occasion of the 18th All India Legal services meet at Jaipur in the presence of the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju had articulated the fact that judges, bureaucrats etc. ought to serve the nation with holistic passion instead of being concerned about their post-retirement ambitions.
Incidentally, in the course of his speech, Gehlot referred to the nomination of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as Rajya Sabha MP and recalled that Justice (Retd.)Gogoi was one of the four apex court judges who had asserted that Democracy in India is in danger. Gehlot concluded with this punchline. “I had asked the President of India if Mr Gogoi was fine before or is he fine now?”
Jerome K Diengdoh,
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