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SHILLONG JOTTINGS

Fisheries Department on the go

If there is one Department that is making visible progress then perhaps the Fisheries Department can claim that credit. A recent video posted on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pduCZ09C-bU&sns=em is worth watching.

This is one Department that’s creating a buzz and has visible outcomes. However, it appears that most fish farmers are more interested in organising gambling games which have caught the imagination of hardened anglers in a big way.

This Department has also partnered very well with civil society groups and colleges with Fisheries as a subject of study. If only other Departmental heads move out of the Secretariat more often and find out what exactly are the economic markers that can trigger self-starting enterprises in Meghalaya they might not need so many of the high flying “consultants” who are now ubiquitous in the Secretariat.

Sadly too few officers make field visits. They rely on stories their juniors narrate to them. This is the basic problem with every scheme in Meghalaya. Those who are to implement them (usually the Block Development Officers) are too burdened with work and see one more scheme as an additional burden.

It’s time to have dedicated mission- managers for every project. That way the manager can be held accountable for the success or failure of any scheme. The Fisheries Department could provide good learning to their peers. We learnt that the first lot of local fish will be sold in the Aquafest being organized along with the Autumn Fest. (November, 2013). The target amount to be sold is 10 metric tonnes. …Way to go!

Stand up comedy show

Shillongites seem to have forgotten how to laugh. People are obsessed with the ILP demand and its spun-offs. The question one gets to hear is, “Will there be a bandh tomorrow? When is the next bandh? What about road blockades? We are in the middle of finalising a seminar and need to know the pro-ILP activists’ programme. Can you tell us if such and such date is free from road blocks, office pickets etc?”

These are questions that this newspaper’s office staff have to answer after every five minutes. Unfortunately (as of writing this jotting) this newspaper is not yet privy to any information. We cannot publish something that is still “rumoured.”

The mobile phones of the agitators are all switched off. Last heard they have gone underground (we know what that means; it means that the local spooks can’t smell their trail). The stand-up comedy show by a trio from Mumbai left those of us who attended the programme, in splits.

The guys lampooned politicians, Gujaratis, Punjabis, Marwaris and what have you but all in good spirit.

Sadly the Soso Tham auditorium was not even a quarter full. Agitations always create a fear psychosis and people usually don’t want to venture out late for fear of being targeted by some cranks who go by the nomenclature of “miscreants.” What happened to the tag “rock capital?” Can people still rock after the ILP? Take a guess as to who will rock and how….

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