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Technocrat turned Politician


Many people are not aware of the academic and professional achievements of Mr Tathagata Roy, being sworn in as the Governor of Meghalaya on August 25 2018. Having a brilliant academic career Mr Roy graduated from Bengal Engineering College, Sibpur (now IIEST and erstwhile premier rather oldest Engineering College of India approaching Bi-centenary) as a Civil Engineer in 1965. He had served successfully the Metro Rail Project of Kolkata as General Manager. He is a former Professor and founder head of the Department of Construction Engineering of Jadavpur University. He is also a law-graduate and is an acclaimed International Arbitrator. He is a prolific writer and authored many books.

Yours etc.,

Samares Bandyopadhyay

Advocate, Kolkata High Court


 Why is R&R Colony a taxi parking zone?


Relief and Rehabilitation Colony (RR Colony) Rynjah, Shillong is an absolute residential colony, which was originally designed and promoted by Central Govt and handed over to the allotees  through the State Govt. in the 1950s. This is well planned colony and its roads, water and sanitation are well maintained by the State Govt with the cooperation of the local body.
In the recent past the road passing through R&R Colony towards Umpling and beyond is no longer safe for pedestrians. It has become an deal place for Shillong Taxi drivers for their safe parking zone on both sides of the road. Numerous taxis are parked spreading on this road throughout the day. The map of Shillong city shows that this Colony is purely a residential colony. Schools, State Govt Dispensary, proposed Cchildren’s Park are located here. There are 275 residential houses spread over the entire colony. In spite of it being a residential colony, Shillong Traffic Police divert the traffic right through middle of the Colony and also allow taxis to park on the side of small residential roads. This has made the road more congested and reduced the size considerably.  All this leads to a nagging situation while walking on the road. Elderly people and senior citizens are finding it unsafe to walk.
Moreover nowadays Govt does not give attention to repair the broken roads. No footpath has been constructed on some segments of the road which again lead makes it unsafe for pedestrians.
The scenario is worsened during rains and when there are festivals observed by the residents. It is my fervent request to the District authorities to look into the matter and show mercy to pedestrians, especially senior citizens. Let them walk hassle free.
Yours etc.,
Tapan Palit, 

Via email

Kindness gets us closer to God


We don’t need to walk too far to practice benevolence. If there is empathy our eyes can spot many needy people around. They are standing with their empty buckets into which we can pour out our generosity. Of course, Ramkrishna Paramhansa’s foremost teaching includes — ‘practicing to see God in every being’. The idea is too grand.  But for that, the eyes should not be blurred by the mist of discrimination and expectation.

 A couple of weeks ago I noticed two children a boy and girl aged about 11 and 9 years respectively, going around from door to door at Upper Mawprem carrying just two bunches of tender stems of squash (chayote).  Those green stems were from their own garden at Mawngap. The drizzling rain in the darkness of the evening, about 7:30 PM, had not dampened their spirits to find buyers for their products. Without an umbrella, they were almost drenched. I realized they were struggling to sell their last two bunches of squash stems for Rs 20 only.

 I’m sure most are not aware of the real woes of such poor vendors.  But we do know that they shout right outside our doors every day with some vegetables on their shoulders/hands. What is invisible here is that they also carry the load of family anxieties which in fact pushes them to toil and sweat. And, on our part, without a sense of compassion, we inconsiderately talk down to these simple people and reduce the prices of their vegetables to half, or even more. When it gets darker, we take more advantage. We don’t spare a thought as to how many households they have visited throughout the day to sell their handful of perishable items. Usually their total load of green produce is worth under Rs 300. Just make a rough assessment of their daily earnings. Moreover, that income would  also cover their bus fare, tea and snacks etc. It is only a tiny sum that finally remains with them to help run their families.

                         I called out to those cheery siblings from Mawngap, and asked a few questions about their family. They spontaneously shared with me what made them go around to sell the vegetables.  Tears welled up in my eyes. Their father died two months ago. The mother, who has still not been able to reconcile herself with the immature demise of the husband, is now struggling to support the family. Since the mother can’t earn much, these two children help supplement the family income.

When I said that I would buy their squash stems, the kids were thrilled. This is how “JOY comes so easily” for the poor! It’s only possible because their hearts are clean and the needs are minimum. I am certain that the amount of joy these siblings felt must be far more than the joy that might be experienced by a rich businessman who might have earned a whopping Rs 2 lakh.

Is this not a greater contribution of the under-aged kids towards their poor parents? This must inspire younger children who know nothing about the pain of poverty. How nice it would be if the people who are better off show more kindness and add happiness to the lives of the poor around them. Simply buying their items without grumbling, if possible with an expression of compassion, certainly gets us closer to the Almighty. Yes, in our town itself there are thousands of small kids helping their parents (mostly single parents) to earn and thus help the family. In case those children do not work, the hearth and home will just crumble; in other words, they will starve to death. Is not the Government regulation against child labour just a farce when it has practically nothing to hold out and pull them through the hardship of living?

Yours etc.,
Salil Gewali


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