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Discrimination over power supply!

Editor,

Welcome December and hello my long lost friend- load shedding! Well, we all were, once upon a time used to this phenomenon and I remember a few years ago how we initially grumbled and fussed and then we just accepted it as way of life. No-one was spared, of course I mean the COMMON MAN. We all faced the trauma of hours of cut outs. Yet I did not complain because as far as I remember, we had power cuts during the wee hours of the night-from about 00:30 hours to around 05:00 hours. I definitely was not affected and I believe so was everyone else. I hail from Laitkor and I speak my personal experience as a resident of Laitkor Rngi.

I must admit, I did see a WhatsApp forward titled “Load shedding notice” sometime around last week across several groups. Nobody really bothered to comment and even I did not go through it, being assured that the concerned departments know their jobs and the same will be executed in public interest like it did in the past years. I woke up on the first day of December and realised there was no electricity, and as always, I called up the helpline number available for Area VI and was informed that we have been scheduled under a THREE HOURS load shedding routine w.e.f. December 1, 2018. I could not believe my ears initially and eventually I checked the WhatsApp forward and I was amazed at how conveniently my area has been listed under the 08:00-11:00 hours load shedding schedule. Now, I feel I need clarifications. Firstly, how does the MePDCL justify a shut down during the morning rush hours? Secondly, what do you suggest we do and how do we cope with the many more days of load shedding in terms of morning chores and activities and most importantly-getting to work? Lastly, I want to know how many people involved in the preparation of the load shedding schedule, themselves experience THREE hours of power cut during the morning rush.

I am compelled to put forward these questions because it is totally insane to consider residents of any area for a THREE HOURS power cut in the name of load shedding while being completely biased to other areas with better time slots of the day and for just ONE HOUR. What are the criteria and what are the statistics that you have collected that gives you the ultimate power to decide this blunder? Is it because we are placed under the rural bucket and that gives you the authority and excuse to heartlessly suppress the rural population? I really want to understand. We all know that majority of our rural population thrive on electricity for day to day activities. How can the department be so irrational and pretend like the schedule prepared has no flaws whatsoever?

The matter will be pursued and open discrimination needs to be condemned. I can feel the pain of the residents of these villages and it does not allow me to keep quiet.

I wonder how such discrimination went unnoticed by the respective elected representatives in power. I urge upon the local MLA, who is also designated as the Chairman of the State Planning Board to kindly take note of the matter and make necessary adjustments to ensure that the residents of all the villages included in the THREE HOUR power cut are not ruthlessly discriminated. I believe that we need to stress on the “equality” factor that is repeated time and again and also practice what is preached in regards to equality towards all. People from the rural areas also have basic rights that and discrimination in this manner will not be taken lightly.

This is a humble request to the concerned authorities to reschedule the power cut timings, if you have to, so that equality prevails in the true sense.

Rupert Lyngdoh,

A deeply concerned resident

Laitkor Rngi

On HIV testing

Editor

The global sensitivity regarding AIDS and HIV infection is shrouded in misinformation and lack of proper medical education and awareness. However, compared to developed Western nations, HIV testing is a taboo in most developing and under-developed nations in both northern and southern hemispheres. The root cause of such social mistrust, prejudices and injustice related to HIV testing and/or screening lies deep inside the highly conservative, primitive, authoritarian and male chauvinistic attitude of our Third World attitudes. If caste, creed, ethnicity, religion and language divisions in our societies are so deep, no wonder taboos associated with HIV testing will make any individual uncomfortable or insecure towards any public demonstration or acceptance of the fact that he or she is going for an HIV screening and/or testing for purely protective purposes. It is this unacceptable societal shame and discrimination that has been pushing people to hide their HIV status and standing in the way of them going for HIV screening. Unless our level of education and awareness truly increases ad makes us more accommodating and empathetic towards HIV positive individuals, open or non-secretive HIV screening or testing is a distant dream in developing and under developed nations.

Yours etc.,

Saikat Kumar Basu

Lethbridge AB Canada

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