SHILLONG JOTTINGS

So now RTI has become anti-development?

No less a person than the Mr Clean of Meghalaya politics, Nongkrem MLA, Ardent Basaiawmoit says that asking for RTI on MLA schemes is a hindrance to development. The recent case of alleged ostracism of an RTI applicant seeking to know details on the progress of the construction of an internal road in the Laitkor Rngi area by the concerned Rangbah Shnong in collusion with the Nongkrem MLA has brought to light the growing intolerance against those who dare. Even as Basaiawmoit and the Rangbah Shnong have vehemently denied the allegation leveled against them, Basaiawmoit’s statement that the details sought by the youth will hinder the construction of the said road sounds baffling. What perhaps needs to be ascertained by the concerned authorities, without further delay, is whose development and what development would the RTI Act, which bestows the right to information to every citizen, hinder in this particular case.

Under-aged drivers

Anyone who takes keen interest in traffic will notice that many truck drivers who drive like maniacs on the Shillong-Guwahati highway are under-aged and should not have been holding even a driving license for light vehicles. A passenger who saw one such truck driver parked at a very narrow space on the highway stopped and asked for the driver’s license and was told that he was not carrying it. He said it was with his owner called MK. The passenger alerted the SP Ri Bhoi district who in turn got hold of the driver at Byrnihat. These are the drivers who ram into other vehicles and cause accidents along the NH 44. But police say they are unable to take action against a driver without a valid license unless he is a repeated offender. That is apparently the brief of the Transport Department through the Enforcement Officers. How many of these EOs actually keep a check on such errant drivers? And why don’t they?

Kentucky’s fried chaos

or food junkies the wait is over! For a long while hundreds of chicken-starved, non-vegetarian, fast food buffs had been waiting with bated breath for KFC the world’s second largest restaurant chain to open its franchise here in Shillong. The ‘finger lickin’ good’ KFC’s offering has already gripped the residents who are willing to shell out anything to see some ‘never before’ chicken being pressure fried with a generous coating of Sanders’ Original Recipe of “11 herbs and spices”, a secret you would die to know!

Who really cares about the thousands of chicken that go under the knife to feed the hunger of thousands who love the taste of this delicacy? KFC has got as warm a welcome as it did in Guwahati. The anxious queues, the rush to pass on the coupon, the gorging down of bucket after bucket and oh yes the numerous pictures being taken at the entrance with drumsticks and wings in hand! In sharp contrast is the slowdown of business at the once famous Domino’s Pizza and Subway. While a war zone seems to have erupted in one corner, there is tranquility in some other. That’s what happens when competition arrives in a sleepy town that has always had a weakness for food. It is sad to see empty chairs well stacked and counter girls finger-drumming on the desk, waiting for customers to revisit the home of cheese, cheese and more cheese! On a serious note the KFC Corporation outlet in Shillong signifies the State’s emergence as a global business destination.