Monday, April 22, 2024
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BJP-NPP bhai-bhai!

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Editor,
The prolonged denouement has, alas, let the cat out of the bag; inferring that NPP, a regional party, of Meghalaya has unconditionally won the much-needed support of the saffron party, with an exclusive commitment to defeating the national party Congress and all other regional parties in the ensuing parliamentary elections. Interestingly, while recapitulating the last Meghalaya Assembly elections, 2023, the Congress candidate from East Shillong constituency Manuel Badwar, on the day of his filing of nomination, had unerringly asserted that NPP and BJP, while fighting it out against each other in some constituencies, in their heart of hearts are but playing cheap drama to obfuscate electorates subconscious mind.
From the very inception there were telltale signs that NPP was slyly hobnobbing with the BJP and this had resoundingly come to pass when the NPP member of Lok Sabha, Agatha Sangma, the sibling of the incumbent Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, voted in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), in 2019. Hence, some discerning electorates have presupposed that if Ampareen romps home in the forthcoming national elections she will have to follow the same trajectory in line with any parliamentary bill that have Sangh Parivar oriented affinity. Hence my Letter to the Editor that surfaced in these very columns captioned, ‘Voting for NPP is voting BJP ‘(ST March 2,2023) couldn’t have been more correct in my precognition of the NPP and BJP’s nuanced understanding. Nevertheless, as a caveat, I ,for one would like to remind NPP, that a regional party, aligning with an affluent and seemingly invincible national political party can end up in being a kiss of death, and this narrative is demonstrated in absolute terms by the latest collapse of the alignment of BJP and BJD, a regional party of 0disha given that the incumbent Chief Minister of 0disha, Naveen Patnaik, a farsighted and an astute politician, has visualized that in the fullness of times his regional party limited to his State would be overwhelmed by an all influential national political party like the BJP!
Further, to spice up the arguments, on the eve of last year’s State Assembly elections, the South Shillong MLA, Sanbor Shullai had aptly asserted the incontrovertible fact by stating that though NPP and BJP couldn’t see eye to eye in course of electioneering but post elections the former would call the latter as Bhai-Bhai, as NPP has had to depend entirely on money doled out according to the whims of the NDA- led Government
Yours etc.,
Jerome K Diengdoh,
Shillong-2

Bankers should load ATMs with Rs 100 and Rs 200 notes

Editor,
The central government rolled out the Jan Dhan Yojana, a program for which people often heap praise on Prime Minister Modi. It seeks to empower every citizen, focusing particularly on the weaker sections of society. The Prime Minister emphasizes that banking transactions should not be a privilege reserved only for the rich, instead, every underprivileged individual should be brought into the mainstream financial system. In other words, every bank should ensure easy access to financial services such as withdrawals, savings, deposit accounts, remittances, credit, insurance, and pensions. This zero-balance account has also effectively taught “wasteful” families the true value of saving money in the bank.
Yet, in stark contrast to the objective of the government, it’s very disheartening to note that in Meghalaya, the people are unable to withdraw amounts below Rs 500 from ATMs. However, in Guwahati, people can withdraw even Rs 100. This raises a serious question: do the bankers in Meghalaya assume that the people in the state are so rich that they never need to withdraw smaller denominations such as Rs 100, Rs 200, or Rs 300? What is the objective behind forcing people to run from pillar to post, begging for small loans of Rs200 from others? Dear bankers, please note that Meghalaya is the third poorest state in India, outstripping only Bihar and Jharkhand in poverty.
A student from a village in Nongstoin retorted in frustration, saying, “I often face troubles because I’m unable to withdraw small sums of money, a concern, I believe is shared by many others from remote areas who come to town on a daily basis. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but it’s doing the opposite for us.” Certainly, for poor people, withdrawing “larger amounts” always takes a toll on their financial power.
Therefore, with all seriousness I urge the bankers to load their ATMs with currency notes of lower denominations, starting at Rs100, and if possible Rs150, without any further delay. This is in the greater interest of the public, which has a small bank balance. Having access to smaller amounts of currency encourages greater “savings” – making the banks richer too.
Yours etc.,
Salil Gewali
Shillong

Reckless two-wheeler drivers a endanger lives

Editor,
I would like to express my appreciation for the initiative taken by two members of the public to comment on the recklessness of two-wheeler drivers (ST 27 March 2024 & April 01, 2024). Their remarks and insights, published in the previous editions of The Shillong Times, were spot on and very appropriate. I would like to state that I wholeheartedly agree with them. Their letters to the editor conveyed the same thoughts and sentiments that I have, but in a much better and lucid way than I could have done it.
I would like to urge upon the competent authorities to take decisive steps and measures to address the menace of reckless driving, especially that of the two-wheeler drivers. While there are a few thoughtful and ethical two-wheeler drivers, most of them are a threat to the life and limbs of pedestrians and car-drivers as they hurl themselves down streets and roads without any care in the world. Some have become so brazen that they have now started to do senseless stunts on streets that are crowded without any thought for the safety of people, especially children and the elderly. Such irresponsible and callous two-wheeler drivers should be penalized to the fullest extent of the law and have their license suspended indefinitely.
The authorities should not approach this matter with any kind of timidity and nervousness. They must address it forthright and with a strong hand. Reckless driving is no longer just a traffic issue but has become a disease that must be nipped in the bud promptly before more lives are lost.
Yours etc.,
P. Majaw,
Shillong-1

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