A request to MeECL

Editor,

Through this letter, I wish to bring to the notice of the MeECL authorities the concerns of our people in Mawpdang village. Mawpdang is no longer a village in fact, it is a suburb of Shillong city. Today we witness that these areas are fast becoming urban in character. The city is in fact expanding in this direction. A proof of this is seen in the number of important government institutions cropping up in this area. While rejoicing that Mawpdang and all the adjoining villages are becoming a part of the capital city, yet we deplore the fact that Mawpdang still suffers from poor electricity supply. While a three phase electrical supply has already reached Tynring, Mawpdang which is just a kilometer away from it, still struggles with a single phase power supply. To add worry to woes, Mawpdang locality especially the Nongspung locality, suffers from a permanent low voltage. This situation is greatly detrimental to the local youth who intend to enter into entrepreneurship of various kinds.
As a resident of Mawpdang I am aware that many youth who desire to start workshops like welding, carpentry or motor mechanics in the village are deprived of such opportunities just because the power supply is too poor to run heavy machineries. Many local entrepreneurs have to go to other places where there is good power supply. There was a water-bottling factory in the village which had to be closed down because the proprietor could no longer afford to run it on a generator. At Vendrame Institute situated in the village, we are not able to run even one computer due to a 24×7 low voltage. Consequently training courses which require adequate power supply have to be suspended. One wonders why the MeECL has stopped upgrading power supply at Tynring and why is Mawpdang left out in the upgradation.
In the name of all Mawpdang people, I humbly request the MeECL to look into this matter and upgrade our power supply at the earliest possible.

Yours etc.,

Dr. Barnes Mawrie sdb

Director, Vendrame

Institute, Mawpdang

Money power & elections: You vote, You decide

Editor,

I remember elections in Meghalaya during the early years after we attained Statehood. People used to say , “ynda niew na ki pliang ja te lah dei ban jop (if you count from the number of lunch/dinner plates in a candidates’ house there is a possibility of winning). From those days we have now graduated, in almost all constituencies to people asking how much money does a candidate have to ‘buy’ votes.
According to my observations through the years, the MLA/MP schemes (public money) have been one of the main reasons that have spoiled the level playing field for all those aspiring to contest the elections for the state assemblies and parliament and now for the ADCs too. This scheme gives an added advantage to the sitting MDCs/MLAs/MPs who often use it in abundance at the fag end of their term to have a more lasting political impact in their favour. From when it started till now the amounts have increased multiple times, now running into crores of rupees per year for five (5) years. For those candidates who have the desire to serve but do not have the desired wealth it is an uphill task if not an impossible one.
But in the implementation of the schemes, we have witnessed that in multiple occasions , apart from spending on footpaths, drains and other works, much of the money is being used in distributing freebies to the electorate. This has therefore encouraged people with enough money to enter the electoral arena with the intention to use money power to buy their way to win elections by matching if not exceeding at times the money power of the MDC/MLA/MP schemes. And with majority of our electorate who are still living below the poverty line, the pickings are ripe for money power to play a key role in elections today .
I had earlier filed a PIL against this scheme on grounds that it violated the principle of separation of powers especially between the executive and the legislature. This PIL was later taken up by the Supreme Court along with three other PILs on the same subject from different states of India. Lack of financial resources however prevented me from pursuing this case. The Supreme Court later issued guidelines for their implementation. But with lack of monitoring, their implementation raises a lot of questions.
The Maitshaphrang Movement had tried to interact with the electorate about the importance of the Vote by staging a drama titled, “PHI VOTE ,PHI RAI- 1” (You Vote, You Decide) aired over Shillong DDK on the February 10, 2003 and after 5 years, “PHI VOTE, PHI RAI- 2” through local cable network on 2008 29 and March 2, 2008.
To counter this money power in elections, some have written and others have spoken in public platforms urging the voters to take the money offered to them by the candidates during the election campaigns, but to apply their minds and consider who is the most capable candidate to lead the state before they cast their votes so that they will not regret later, because when they vote they decide not only their children’s future but the future of the state as well.
In conclusion, it does not matter whosoever offers money to woo the voters, I would like to remind the voters the famous quote by Lao Tzu founder of Taoism, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

Yours etc.,

Michael N.Syiem

Via email

Let Govt and Supreme Court reconcile

Editor,

Day in day out the differences between the Modi Govt and Supreme Court are surfacing. Common citizens of this country wish an early end to this episode without further damage to the reputation of both. Recently a parliamentary committee had also suggested the same. But both institutions appear to be adamant. The parliamentary committee, has meanwhile asked the executive and judiciary to do some “out -of-the-box thinking” to find a solution to the ‘perennial problem’ of vacancies in the high courts. In this regard the previous Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur made an emotional appeal to the Prime Minister to fill up the vacancies in the various high courts and Supreme Court as the huge number of pending cases ultimately adversely impact the common man who still has faith in the judiciary. After the comments of the Parliamentary Committee it is the duty of the concerned parties to find ways and means to solve this matter amicably without bringing it into the public domain.
The news emanating in the media on this issue are disgusting. Moreover, let the confusion be cleared on the collegium after the statement of Law Minister Kiren Rijiju that there is no proposal to introduce the Bill of National Judicial Appointments Committee. It is well known that no system is full-proof and there is need for amendments with the passage of the time since over one hundred amendments had been made in the Constitution itself. Four players are making statements which contradict each other. For instance, the Supreme Court had justified the collegium system whereas government had favoured the National Judicial Appointment Committee. And now the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha has expressed his own views. Presently, the question arises as to whether a country which is the world’s largest democracy can afford such divergent views on such an important issue.
Interestingly in this aspect all sides are claiming to be well-wishers of the unprivileged and marginalised sections of society whereas all are far away from the harsh realities.
The Government’s objection is that the entire process of appointment of judges is opaque and lacks transparency. Meanwhile the Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear the plea against the Collegium System of appointment of judges in high courts and the Supreme Court in due course of time. After the advisory by the Parliamentary Committee the issue should be amicably settled.
Unfortunately, the dispute between the SC collegium and Government leaders threatens to blow up into a full-fledged confrontation. It is therefore of utmost importance that the two pull back from the brink and try and evolve a compromise which best serves the interests of the Republic without either undermining the independence of the judiciary or eroding the role of the Government as originally envisaged in the Constitution in judicial appointments. Giving one side the virtual veto will be violative of the founding charter and needs to be abandoned in favour of a golden compromise as provided in the National Judicial Appointments Commission

Yours etc.,

Yash Pal Ralhan,

Via email

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