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Why extort fuel from petrol pumps?


With reference to the news report in your paper, “HNYF Wants Free Fuel To Complete ‘Pending Work’”   (ST Dec,11 2017), it is my opinion that this is nothing but a method used by such organisations to extort fuel. The petrol pumps bear no duty towards any person or organisation to provide free fuel. A petrol pump is a business like any other and provides their products at a rate set by the government. Instead of demanding free fuel, these organizations should be more concerned about bigger things such as health, education and the condition of the roads that the common man uses on a daily basis. I strongly condemn such practices and request the media not to print such reports as they are in bad taste and would only encourage other organizations to do the same. I bear no ill will to any party but wish to call a spade, a spade.

Yours etc.,

Banshai Dkhar

Zoo Road, Guwahati

Need for hassle-free enrolment in voters’ list.    


Many eligible women voters could not enrol their names in the voters’ list for want of marriage certificates. The officials engaged in the enrolment process often insist that women applicants should produce marriage certificates even while the names of their respective husbands are already there in the voters’ list of the constituency where they become residents consequent upon their marriage. Widows are also not spared. Where will a widow get a marriage certificate from when her husband has passed away and her marriage was not registered? Another instance is when a first time voter wishes  to enrol his/her name in the voters’ list and the application has to be supported by requisite documents including the EPIC of  his/her parents. It is justified for the officials to ask the new entrant to produce the marriage certificate of his/her parents?

If anyone questions why a marriage certificate now, the reply is obvious. A marriage certificate is now compulsory for all official purposes. The Meghalaya Compulsory Marriage Registration Act, 2012 nowhere provides that it is mandatory to produce a marriage certificate for official purposes, except in the second paragraph of the preamble which reads, “Whereas further it is mandatory for a married man and married woman to compulsorily furnish a marriage certificate for all official purposes….” The term “official purposes” is ambiguous as the same has not been defined under the said Act. It is unclear whether the term “official purposes” means anything related to the State Government or the Central Government or the “official purposes” of any other body created under the Constitution of India.  The general public fails to understand what is official about  enrolment of name in the voters’ list. The process of enrolment in the voters’ lists is only to ensure that every citizen of the country gets to vote and participate in our democracy, the ideal which we as citizens of India cherish with pride.

 We all know that the enrolment of citizens in the voters’ list, holding elections, declaration of election results and other analogous matters connected with elections fall within the realm of the Election Commission of India. For new enrolment, Form 6 is required to be filled up by the applicants. In the guidelines for filling the application, nowhere is it mentioned that a married woman is required to produce a marriage certificate in order to enrol her name in the voters’ list, then why unnecessarily insist on this? Will the authorities enlighten the general public and remove all doubts and uncertainties around the idea of having to produce a marriage certificate for enrolment in the voters’ list?   

            One more document insisted upon by the officials for enrolment in the voters’ list is the birth certificate. But non-production of a birth certificate cannot itself be a ground for rejection of application for enrolment. The guidelines for filling up Form-6 provides that  if the age of the applicant is between 18 and 2l years, a documentary proof of date of birth should be attached. A copy of any one of the following documents can be attached as a proof of date of birth:-Birth certificate issued by a Municipal Authorities or district office of the Registrar of Births & Deaths or Baptism certificate or Birth certificate from the school (Govt./ Recognized)  last attended by the applicant or any other recognized educational institution. If a person is class 10 or more passed, he should give a copy of the mark-sheet of class 10, if it contains date of birth as a proof; or mark-sheet of class 8 if it contains date of birth; or mark sheet of class 5 if it contains date of birth; or Indian Passport; or PAN card; or Driving License; or Aadhar letter/Card issued by UIDAl.

In case none of the above document is available, a declaration in prescribed format given in Annexure II. In cases where the applicant is over 2l years of age and physically appears to be so the Booth Level Officer /Assistant Electoral Registration Officer /Electoral Registration Officer, will take a personal declaration of age by him / her as age proof and no documentary proof will be insisted on. The age should be indicated in years and completed months as on the qualifying date i.e. 1st  January, of the year with reference to which electoral roll is being revised /or has been revised. The question that arises is whether the officials make the applicants aware about the admissibility of others documents (apart from birth certificate) as proof of age or date of birth?

Through your esteemed daily, I request the Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya and the District Election Officers of all the districts of Meghalaya to do the needful, so that the enrolment in the voters’ list is made as per the requirement /instructions /guidelines of the Election Commission of India and nobody is harassed. There should be no room left for any arbitrariness. I also request the Meghalaya Board of School Education to urgently make a provision from this year onwards for entering the date of birth of the candidates in their SSLC and HSSLC mark sheets to expand their utility since a mark sheet with date of birth written on it is admissible as proof for the purpose of obtaining PAN Card, EPIC as well as AADHAAR Card.     

Yours etc.,

Aneeta Synrem



Using religion for politics



If all available options fail us then we usually turn to God. Of course, this alone ultimately pays us back. But in politics, the act of falling for God looks sometimes too artificial. Political leaders show their love for God for the reasons which only reeks of their unholy ambition and expectation. How can the leader use the images of gods and goddesses and bring them all to the level of the materialistic gutter? What is disgusting is that those very leaders, who vocally deride and brand the practice of the native yoga and meditation as a communal agenda, are now seen posing in posters against the backdrop of Hindu deities! Are they not the ones who even call the secular and universal wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, without any sincere study and knowledge, as a divisive force and dress down the believers with the help of a biased media? But how suddenly have these leaders now started believing the whole gamut of Hindu rituals!  One Facebook friend calls them a bunch of “laughing stock” as they have been shown in the media smearing the forehead with chandan tilak and performing elaborate homas and chanting Vedic mantras. Does it not appear awfully absurd?    

Beware of those who use the “divinity” to achieve their self-centered goals. It is not just outrageous, it’s spiritually sinful too. 

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali, 

Shillong -2

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