This is with reference to Salil Gewali’s letter, “Uncaring attitude of PHED” ( ST, Sep 19, 2022) where he writes, “muddy water with oily substance continues to spout out from the PHE water pipes,” and the consequences that the public in general and the under privileged in particular have to suffer on a daily basis. In his letter Gewali had also referred to A N Kharmawphlangs’ letter, “Non-potable water in 21st century Meghalaya” (ST, Aug 09, 2022) where the writer questions, “If the Govt in 50 years has not been able to provide the residents of the city with clean, pure water, then what are we celebrating 50 years of statehood for……”. As another resident of Shillong city who has faced and is still suffering this same fate for the last many years I would like to make the following observations.
When I read about how citizens of several developed countries drink water directly from the tap, it makes me wonder when we in Meghalaya will be able to achieve such levels of progress in governance especially in this particular field of human activity. So I ponder at the situation we are in till today, it’s just by God’s grace that we have survived so far.
But then I remember reading the comment in the media by our former Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma in 2013 that so far as development is concerned, compared to other states we are years behind and when compared to other developed nations of the world, Meghalaya is centuries behind. I ask myself therefore as to when will my children and grandchildren be able to drink water directly from the tap.
But why can’t it happen in my lifetime? On July 27, 2021 the Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the, ‘Drink from Tap project” making the city of Puri the first city in India to provide “high quality drinking water directly from the tap on a 24-hour basis.” According to the Chief Minister, the residents and tourist visiting Puri will not need to move around with water bottles and “Puri would no longer be burdened with 400 metric tonnes of plastic waste annually.” He also added, “Our effort to ensure availability of pure drinking water is important for the good health of the people.” This project is currently being expanded to other cities and urban centres of Odisha.
If Odisha can do it in Puri why not in a small state like ours beginning with Shillong as part of the ‘smart city’ project? It all depends on the political will of those in power and the farsightedness and wisdom of the voters who put them there.
Michael N. Syiem
West Bengal’s recruitment scam!
The arrest of Bengal’s Industries & Commerce minister Partha Chatterjee by the ED(Enforcement Department) on July 23rd, 2022 for his alleged involvement in the School Service Commission recruitment scam, has made TMC’s sworn adversaries, especially the BJP in a great mood. But this has also embarrassed Mamata Banerjee, the Bengal Chief Minister, no end. Reportedly, there are many more Bengal ministers who are currently under the ED’s scanner and have to face identical fates. If these unethical misdeeds are proved to be true, such representatives ought to be severely punished as per the laws of the land. Hence, Prime Minister Modi must be rightly acclaimed for living up to his commitment, ‘Na khaunga na khane dunga’.
However, in my interaction with some senior citizens they have queried on why one of the biggest recruitment embezzlements called Vyapam scam unearthed in 2013 that took place in Madhya Pradesh, which was then and even now, ruled by the Saffron party, the same legal zeal of the ED, as seen in Bengal, not pursued? This scam dwarfed, they say, Bengal’s alleged scam. Evidently such colossal frauds could not have occurred without the knowledge of those at the helm of power. In these social machinations Rs 2000 crores is believed to have been exchanged as bribes, decades ago. Perhaps to bury this gargantuan misdemeanor,40 accused and potential witnesses met with mysterious deaths. They were mostly of relatively young ages of 25 to 30 years. They died mostly in road accidents. It was reported that 23 victims died of unnatural deaths! Perchance, someone may have said,’ dead men tell no tales.’ In the aftermath of these unethical misdeeds the then BJP Chief minister’s image was tarnished and thus BJP lost a lot of its moral sheen, belying Modi’s much trumpeted utterance: ‘Na khaunga na khaane dunga’
Ironically, as wonders never cease, defending the Government, the then MP, Home Minister B. Gaur had sarcastically asserted that, ‘Whoever is born has to die one day.’ God forbid, that such mysterious deaths do not recur in West Bengal!
Jerome K Diengdoh,
Last Saturday two great sportspersons hung up their boots. One is twenty grand slam winner Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer and the other is the highest wicket taker in international women’s cricket our very own cricket legend Jhulan Goswami. Flowing tears of Rafael Nadal after Roger Federer’s farewell match in London tells us how great Roger Federer is not only as a sportsperson but also as a human being. Interestingly the same touching scene also happened on the same day also in London when India’s cricket Captain Harmanpreet Kaur could not hold her tears before Jhulan Goswami’s farewell match at Lord’s. This also speaks a lot about Jhulan Goswami as a person and as a team member. These two golden moments are to be remembered.
Worsening traffic jams
As a commuter, having to use the Rhino Point on one’s way towards the Civil Hospital, every single day, I wish to share the agony and frustration that creeps into my tortured mind. It’s been a very long time now that vehicles coming from Last Bus Stop are made to take a U Turn from Anjalee Petrol Pump, reach Rhino Point again and then move towards Civil Hospital. The traffic arrangement here was perhaps an attempt to prevent traffic congestion along this route. Ironically, we experience a more stubborn traffic jam along that route especially in the morning during school hours. At times it takes vehicles 10 – 15 minutes to get back to Rhino Point. For those of us who have to proceed towards Civil Hospital and onwards, to be made to go all the way from Anjalee Petrol Pump and be stranded in traffic is an absolute waste of time. To beat the traffic, if vehicles try to use the route via the Cantonment area, they are not allowed to do so by the army personnel. One time when I had used this route I was made to reverse my vehicle when I reached the gate at the Civil Hospital point making it even more cumbersome and frustrating. I am certain that this is a dilemma faced by all commuters who are using this road day in and day out.
I simply wish to make the following suggestions:
1. Why not allow vehicles going towards Civil Hospital take a right turn at Rhino Point like before? Such vehicles will not add up to the congestion.
2. If the route via the cantonment area can be made open for public vehicles as before, it would be of great help to us citizens.