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BSNL staff treats customers as ‘Subjects’


I along with my wife recently went to get our Aadhar re-verification done at the BSNL CTO office. The elderly person who was manning the Customer Care Desk was rude to start with as he was dictating how the process works like a teacher does to his students. While my re-verification went through faultlessly, when my wife’s turn came there was some problems matching her fingerprint. After trying a few times the person started rudely scolding my wife as if it was she who was creating the problem. Finally he stated that re-verification cannot be done and he can’t waste his time on one client. When I confronted him saying it wasn’t our fault he rudely walked away from the desk. He treated us as if we weren’t clients but ‘subjects’ of BSNL.

Here I would like to appreciate the polite behaviour of a lady and a young staff in the same desk who made repeated attempts to re-verify my wife’s account but failed due to the technical glitch. I would like to thank them for the professional approach they displayed during our interaction. As for the grumpy old man I wonder how the organization would make such a rude man sit in the Customer Service Desk. Perhaps he should be shifted to the tower maintenance department where he would have no customers to trouble him. I hope the concerned authorities bring to the kind notice of this man that the salary and pension which he takes home actually comes from the bills that ordinary customers like me pay to the organization so that he doesn’t treat customers as subjects in the limited term he has left in his job. Or perhaps he could learn a few good things about professionalism from the young people he shares the desk with at the fag end of his career.

Yours etc.,
Shillong – 6

Restore children’s fundamental rights


While passing a slew of directives for effective implementation of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the Supreme Court on February 9, 2018 observed that even   children have fundamental and human rights and they cannot be compelled to live in uncomfortable conditions merely because they have no voice in the affairs of state. The Apex Court also said that rights of children need to be enforced equally strongly and if the Executive ignores the mandate of Parliament with continuing callousness, it would only be detrimental to the children of the country.

It must be remembered that children are the future of the country and if they are not looked after, it is the future of the country that is at stake. A bench of the top court comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta in its 62-page judgement   directed the Ministry of Women and Child Development and all state governments to ensure that all positions in the national and state commissions for protection of child rights are filled up well in time and adequate staff is provided to these statutory bodies so that they can function effectively. The bench said that the national and state commissions for protection of child rights have a very significant and proactive role to play in improving the lives of children. Obviously therefore the state governments must ensure that all positions in the JJBs (Juvenile Justice Boards) and CWCs (Child Welfare Committees) are filled up expeditiously and in accordance with the model rules or the rules framed by the state government. Delay in filling up the positions would adversely impact on children which should be avoided.

In the above perspective it would be appropriate to assess how protected are the children in the Children’s Hospital at Central Pohkseh. This hospital is the only and unique Children’s hospital in the whole of the state of Meghalaya and possibly in Assam as well where worried parents from far-off and endemic villages rush for treatment and early cure/ recovery of their ailing children daily.

It has been and is still being observed that residents of Shillong – be it young bikers or matured adults speed past the hospital at supersonic speed without the vehicle’s silencer and blowing horns much above the permissible limits of decibel level, thereby creating extreme noise pollution that disturbs the children, in quarantine in the hospital. This robs them of their right to silence and peace particularly when they are far away from home and bereft of parental care and struggling hard to recover in an unfamiliar place.

Children are divine gifts bestowed by the Almighty on humankind for the perpetuation  of the human race. Children are also incarnations of God. It is inexplicable as to how people in vehicles are so indifferent to the fundamental needs of children when they are sick and  in trauma in hospitals and need empathy from all concerned in terms of caring, comfort and congeniality of environment. Why are the people of present generation cruel and merciless?

It would be worthwhile for the Meghalaya State Child Welfare Committee, the Police department, the State Pollution Control Board, the State Motor Vehicles Department along with the concerned RTO to take stock of the situation for restoration of children’s fundamental rights and provide them due care and adequate protection and ensure permanent peace, tranquility, serenity and silence around the Children’s Hospital.

Yours etc.,

Samares Bandyopadhyay,


Via email

Rampant illegal mining in Meghalaya


The Supreme Court of India had once again allowed transportation of the remaining (about 7.8 lakhs MT) of already extracted coal (extracted since 2014), for another four months from December 2017 to March 2018. It is a great relief for the Government of Meghalaya and the rampant illegal miners in the State. The fact is that since the winter of 2016 – 17 maximum quantity of coal transported from the state are newly extracted coal either illegally or freely which is widespread all over the State.

The same continues till date. In reality, the already extracted coal remains in papers only but the physically and virtually transported coal now from Meghalaya is the newly one mined via the rat hole extractive method. But the Government and Authorities concerned are soft and turn a blind eye to this for reasons best known to them. If there is an independent enquiry or investigation by the CBI, the mess of black trading will come to light. In the past thirty years coal was exported from Meghalaya by Six-Wheelers trucks, D – Model, S-Model, etc. which are not as strong as vehicles of today but they all carried above twelve tonnes. Thanks to modem technology of vehicle manufacturing companies which produced stronger and reliable vehicles, at present the maximum number of trucks transporting coal from Meghalaya are sixwheelers and few tenwheelers, twelve-wheelers and other modern models which can carry above 20 tonnes of coal. A senior sixwheelers (1613 TC) truck driver said that a comfortable load for his vehicle is 15 to 17 tons, and whether he carries 9 tonnes or 15- tonnes, the difference in fuel consumption is negligible. It is high time for the Government to review the Transport rules and policies with practical on-road experiments. The Government allowed loading of 9- tonnes per truck, but only few truckers stuck to that, whereas most of them were overloaded. We have also seen in the local newspapers in the recent past where state police detained trucks transporting coal illegally and overloaded. We fear to say that many trucks ply without appropriate challans or even with duplicate ones. This calls for a thorough investigation and stern action against the errant truck drivers and owners. The Government of Meghalaya is facing financial crunch but seems unwilling or lacks the mechanism to plug the loopholes in revenue collections. Really, mineral resources form a major revenue source for the state, yet, it hardly collects a revenue of 40 % from the total minerals exported, while the rest is leaked due to reasons stated above. It may be the same in other revenue collection sectors also. Let the Government be more sincere, more accountable and be ashamed of white lies. How can a Government that cannot stop illegal mining deliver anything to the people?

Yours etc.,

Muhonsingh Marbaniang

New Nongstoin West Khasi Hills-19

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