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Expedite MHIS implementation


The Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) is a unique scheme for the benefit of the poor. This scheme expired on September 25 thereby causing in unimaginable agony to sick people with limited income. For example a person in need of kidney dialysis twice a week requires about Rs 50000 a month. So is the case with cancer patients and those suffering from other other chronic  diseases. I, therefore, request the Health Minister specifically and the higher ups of the Health Department to kindly finalise the matter as early as possible for the sake of those non-government employees of the state. Personally, I know of people who at risk of losing their lives because they  cannot afford regular medication for obvious reason.

Yours etc.,

 A L Thangkhiew

Shillong- 5


Delighting in anglicised surnames


Apropos the report, “KHADC mulls Bill to stop Anglicised Surnames” ( ST Nov.14,2018), the use of Anglicised surnames by the Khasis dates back to the 1850s or 1860s after the Khasis embraced Christianity.  We don’t know why the Khasis love to adopt the English names Anglicised surnames. I presume that it might have been the influence of the foreign rulers or the influence of certain religious denominations. There is no other reason why the Khasis take great delight in adopting Anglicised surnames. As of today there are surnames that have been distorted or Anglicised right from the time of their forefathers and we cannot blame those who adopt the same at later stages. The common Anglicised surnames which continue even today are Dykes in place of Dkhar, Kyndykes for Kyndiah, Cunville for Khongwir, Fancon for Phankon, Laitflang for Laitphlang, Sootinck for Suting, De Cruz for Dohkrut, Chyne for Khain, Soanes for Sun etc., Why do we feel shy or inferior to use, adopt our original surnames? Will this not lead to loss of indigeneity?

Then there are people who use common surnames like Lyngdoh and Syiem which are actually social positions and hence a loosely held title. Hence, as Khasis we should use and write the correct surnames of the clan we belong to so that there is no mistake about who we are or else people will mistake us to be of foreign origin. Let us be write our original surnames and feel proud to be Khasis. The Move of the KHADC, especially that of HS Shylla in this direction, must be lauded.

Yours etc….

 Philip Marwein,

Via email

Negative versus positive externality


I was traveling by public transport the other day when the driver did something out of the blue which brought an unexpected smile to my face. As soon as I board the maxi cab, the driver turn on the music player and a song which I used to love as a kid was the first song on the playlist. This song was one of my favorite songs growing up and I haven’t heard this song in ages. In Economics jargon this was one of those rare occasions when I can say that I had a firsthand experience and the effects of “positive externality”. I think a few of the passengers might have noticed a smile on my face as soon as the song started playing and they may have been wondering what triggered that emotional response in me. On the flipside, if the rest of the passengers disliked the song then this will be a case of negative externality and on the whole negative externality will be far greater than positive externality since I’m the lone person who likes the song. Thus if the rest of the passengers unanimously decide to tell the driver to stop playing the song, the driver will have to listen to them since the greatest good for the greatest number will come into play in this case.

 And this brings me to the hawkers’s problem in the city of Shillong. Lately I’ve been seeing hawkers set up their store in hitherto hawkers free zones. And this begs the question? Which one is greater, positive externality or negative externality. For example I’ve seen a vegetable vendor set up her shop in the Umsohsun-G.S Road junction. If the vegetables vendor does not affect the flow of traffic and pedestrians walking on the footpath, then this will be a case of positive externality outweighing negative externality. Passers-by and the residents of Umsohsun and Wahingdoh in particular will save themselves the trouble of going all the way to Iewduh to purchase their daily needs of vegetables. On the other hand the vegetable vendors in the centre of Motphran are a hindrance to the flow of traffic and pedestrians who have to pass through Motphran in the evening rush hour are affected enormously by the scores of vegetable vendors who sit on the roadside. In this case our policy makers have to weigh whether negative externality is greater than positive externality and take assertive measures to redress the situation if it so warrants. On a positive note, indigenous hawkers always add a sort of charm to any town or city. For instance if hawkers selling traditional handicrafts set up their stores at the entry gates of major tourist destinations in the state, then this will be a positive externality for visiting domestic and  foreign tourists since they may not have time to visit markets selling traditional handicrafts. At the end of the day, our policy makers needs to act according to the situation and if a particular situation demands stringent measures to curb illegal activities, then the government should act assertively but if a particular situation demands relaxed policies, then the government should try to accommodate hawkers belonging to the indigenous communities since the charm of Shillong city will be magnified.

Yours etc.,

Gary Marbaniang,

Via email


Coal pit politics


 The recent unprovoked attack on Agnes Kharshiing and Amita Sangma by a bunch of hoodlums has brought into focus how social and environmental activists are prone to being attacked in Meghalaya. Though nothing much can be said about the duo’s mission that led to the unfortunate attack with no help coming forth from anyone, the role of the Police, East Jaintia Hills is suspect and their tardy attitude in pursuing those behind the incident is suspect. People are not blind nor deaf. Those who pass through coal mining areas know that everyone is involved in the illegal mining and transportation of coal. However, what is questionable is the role of the Opposition in criticizing the current dispensation. The criticism is absolutely baseless. Rather than blaming the Government, political parties across the divide should work towards a solution and condemn in no uncertain terms the assault on such activists. Illegal transportation of coal had happened during the Congress-led MUA Government’s tenure and continues till date. Therefore it will be prudent for both sides to introspect into their own acts of omission and commission and work for the greater good.

Yours etc..

Dominic S.Wankhar


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