Clean up the University


The detailed report in your esteemed daily (ST February 11, 2019) that a Central Institution of higher learning has transformed in a hub of corrupt practices is unfortunate. Your report has unfolded serious irregularities in the tender allotment process in the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), which conspicuously smacks of a shady racket run by engineers in cahoots with the Building Sub-committee and Evaluation Committee of the University.

It is apparent from the report that the Building Sub-committee of the University openly flouted the Central Government norms by fixing lower limit of acceptance of tenders up to 10% below the estimated cost of the projects, which is sheer absurdity and against all the norms of financial propriety. Eventually, such conditions will prompt all the bidders to quote only up to 10 % below the estimated amount, putting all the bidders on the same platform, although they may be willing to work even more than 10% below, but having such condition compels them to quote only 10% below the estimated amount. It is also pertinent to mention here and also as reported vide your esteemed daily that the estimates have been loaded with premiums to the extent of 50%. So, when all the bidders are on same rate, it gives enough scope of manipulation in allotment of the works to a bidder in exchange for kickbacks, which appear to be prevalent in cases cited in your esteemed daily.

It is expected, that the Vice Chancellor, who is the head of the University will take appropriate steps to conduct full enquiry into the matter and expose corrupt officials involved in shady deals as reported by the media. I also hope that the stake holders at the various levels will also take initiatives to-ensure that NEHU is freed from corruption and malice.

Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request

Meghalaya’s natural beauty


Confront nature in its sky clad nudity at Lawsohtun Shillong. Walk briskly at cockcrow and sing along the crooning passerine and joining in the mellifluous warble of the songs of birds. Enter alone inside the pine grove next to the Presbyterian Cemetery, sway and swagger with the lush swinging pine trees. Do the Surya Pranam to the emerging glow of the sun in the distant horizon. Sing Vande Mataram in tune to our proud nation. Enjoy the Yoga exercises lying on the cemented ground in the centre of the cemetery. Condemn violence in the name of religion. When all is done and nature has come of age with the bright and glowing sun, then go home feeling at peace within and the world around. Learn to regard and respect nature in its original form for it is the benison imparted to mankind by the Almighty.

Yours etc.,

Col A A Siddiqui,

Shillong -4


Consumer Rights Day


Every year March 15 is observed as World Consumer Rights Day Consumers International has announced the theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2019 as “Trusted Smart Products” to make us aware about the need for a connected world and “importance of the development of digital products and services.” The movement for consumer rights is for promoting basic rights of the consumer and for safeguarding consumers from the market abuse and social injustice. Given that we live in a sellers’ market and in the bubble of their fantasy advertisements, this day holds special importance.

The World Consumer Rights day was inspired by the President of the United States of America, John F Kennedy. In 1962, he highlighted four consumer rights ~ Right to safety, Right to be informed, Right to choose and Right to be heard. Thereafter, four more rights added in 1980. They are ~ Right to redress, Right to satisfaction of basic needs, Right to consumer education and Right to a healthy environment.

Indian consumers got their Consumers Protection Act in 1986. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs of the Government of India has been making consumers aware about their rights through the campaign “Jago Grakak Jago” (“Wake up Consumers”).  Now, the question is ~ why mustn’t Indian voters be treated as consumers? Why mustn’t they be protected under the Consumers Protection Act? Consumers give their money to buy a product after believing what the manufacturer is saying about the product. If a consumer is cheated then the person can get protection under the Consumer Protection Act.

Similarly, a voter should also be protected. A person gives her or his vote in favour of a political party after believing in the promises of that party. The promises are well documented in their manifesto. So, if a political party fails to deliver its promises after coming to power then the party needs to be penalized. As a matter of fact, the value of our vote is indeed more than money.

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,

Via email

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