Thursday, July 18, 2024

Shillong’s traffic woes: A call for action


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I am writing to express my deep concern about the ever-worsening traffic congestion in Shillong. It is a daily ordeal for residents to navigate the city, with commutes between Laitumkhrah and Police Bazar, a mere 20-minute walk, stretching into a frustrating 1.5 to 2 hour crawl. This is simply unacceptable.
For years, we have been subjected to this gridlock, with little to no respite. The government’s repeated promises of solutions ring hollow when faced with the reality on the ground. It’s time for concrete action, not empty pronouncements.
The causes of this congestion are multifaceted: narrow, outdated roads, haphazard parking, and an ever-increasing number of vehicles. We need a comprehensive strategy that tackles these issues head-on.
The people of Shillong deserve better. We deserve a city where commutes are efficient, not excruciating. I urge the authorities to take immediate and decisive action to formulate a solution that will alleviate traffic congestion and make Shillong a more liveable city for all.
Yours etc.,
Pratham K Sharma
Via email

Why wash dirty linen in public?

Apropos of the letter, “Double trouble for Mawkhar Church: Where angels fear to tread the vestry,” by an anonymous writer I would like to express my deep sense of sadness, anguish, and disappointment at the way the writer has chosen to express his/her grievances regarding the church, its functioning and allegedly against a few leaders of the church. Although the writer has chosen to remain anonymous, it was, however, not difficult to decipher that the writer is a single person and not a group as he/she was trying to portray. Why I say so, is because, in the fourth paragraph of the letter, the writer says, “Now my question is who owns the land and the assets in Sohmylleng Mission?” This gave away the singularity of the individual concerned and clearly shows that it is not a group of individuals but rather a single person. Nonetheless, that is not the point. The point that I would like to convey is that it appears that the person concerned is not any ordinary church member but someone privy to all the checks and balances, the minutes, and everything behind closed doors.
As a congregant myself, I am deeply saddened by the way this person chooses to address the issue—by washing dirty linen in public and hiding behind the veil of anonymity. I strongly believe that this individual does not represent the entire congregation, and as a congregation, we do not condone or encourage such practices. Well! at least that is what I think and that is my stance. I would also, through this medium, humbly request any individual or group who is disappointed with the church or its leaders, their style of functioning, or their corrupt practices (albeit until now unproven and unbeknownst to the congregants) to kindly take their concerns and vent their frustrations and anger within. Let us confront directly as (sane) men to clean the church of any corrupt or unwanted practices and not trumpet our family affairs to men who may not understand us and take undue mileage of our misery.
Yours etc.,
A. Dkhar

Rahul Gandhi should accept post of Opposition Leader

For the last two consecutive Parliament sessions there was no Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha as no party including the Congress party won 55 members which is the minimum requirement to get this post but now Congress has won 99 seats members in the Lok Sabha so the Party has requested Rahul Gandhi to become the LoP in the Lok Sabha. However Rahul Gandhi has said that he wants some time to decide on this issue. If Rahul Gandhi agrees it will be a good step in national interest as the country had seen how the Bills were passed without any discussion and also without referring to the Privileges Committee, which is also known as the mini Parliament
Despite all the snide remarks amounting to online bullying Rahul Gandhi did not allow himself to become bitter, angry, smug and spiteful unlike Prime Minister, Narendra Modi who too was subjected to vicious attacks, on justified grounds, for the Gujarat riots on his watch as chief minister. Instead, Gandhi reached out to the people of India to emphatically push his idea of an inclusive, diverse, equitable and constitutionally-driven country; the two strenuous Bharat Jodo Yatras are evidence of his willingness to be physically tested and be comfortable with the common Indian. His accommodation with allies in the INDIA bloc shows a new maturity too.
In his renewed avatar, Rahul Gandhi has had support from — besides his family — Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge who has been content to allow him to be the party’s star. He articulates, even today, the polar opposite of the RSS’ idea of India. While Gandhi’s new acceptability is welcome, the road ahead is challenging. Upping the ante in the Parliament, smart and tactical alliances, allowing space for allies while expanding the Congress, listening to varied voices on issues, rebuilding the party’s organisation, and so on are what Congress should think of. For a start, he will have to decide between his two seats, Wayanad and Raebareli, but that seems a small decision for a politician who seems to have — finally — come of age.
It was the moment to cherish for Rahul Gandhi when the Congress got enough seats to dictate its own terms within the INDIA bloc. This will enable the Congress to implement policies which were not possible previously and in Parliament the Congress will have enough time to put forth its ideas.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor hailed Rahul Gandhi as “the man of the match” of the Lok Sabha polls and said it would only be fitting that he takes on the mantle of the Leader of Opposition in the house.
It is also seen that Rahul Gandhi as well as some other Congress leaders have the habit of issuing such statements which could ultimately harm the Party. Spokespersons must speak after due consultations.
The Congress should also clarify its stance to partners in the INDIA bloc because AAP has stated that the alliance was only for the Lok Sabha elections and not beyond. Every citizen of the country will be keenly watching the healthy parliament debates in the 18th Parliament. Issues raised in Parliament should carry a strong message that matters are of national importance. Now Rahul had raised the demand of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to interrogate into the huge fluctuations in share market just two days before the results and based on exit polls. Unfortunately, the TMC is against the JPC demand saying that it is mere waste of time and serves no purpose. When there are conflicting views within the Alliance the Congress party has to deal with them in a mature and sensitive way.
Let us hope that what happens henceforth will be in the larger interest and progress of the country and to strengthen democratic values.
Yours etc.,
Yash Pal Ralhan,
Via email


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