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Meghalaya: Shillongites extend helping hand to Kerala flood victims without govt aid

 

By SHWETA RAJ KANWAR | August 21, 2018

Late July witnessed severe flooding in the state of Kerala due to unusually high rainfall. Kerala’s worst floods in nearly a century has left more than 350 people dead within a fortnight, while more than 82,400 people have been rescued, mainly from Chengannur, Pandanad, Aranmula, Aluva, Chalakkudi, Kuttanad and with all 14 districts of the state placed on high alert.

While the government from most states of Northeast India have announced funds for assistance to Kerala flood victims, Meghalaya is yet to make any announcement due to reported fund crunch.

However civil societies and organizations in Meghalaya are working in their own individual capacities to help their fellow brethren in Kerala.

MOX – Movement of Expression in Shillong are hosting a Friendship Jam this Saturday at Mellow Mood Cafe in Shillong. This will be an evening full of music and the proceedings from the event will go directly to the Chief Ministers Fund in Kerala.

Speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today, founder of MOX – Movement of Expression, Mrinal Paul informed that the people can donate any amount of money at the event and the proceedings will be directly transferred to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund while adding, “The people need not be apprehensive about the fact that their contributions may not reach the source. We will ensure that it does”.

Movement Of Expression abbreviated as MOX was founded by Mrinal Paul, an alumnus of St. Anthony’s College, Shillong, Meghalaya with an aim to connect, create and converge various talented youth and provide them a platform to showcase and highlight their talents.

Another organization called Spread the Love-Shillong is doing its part in helping Kerala in flood relief operations.

Speaking to TNT in this regard, founder of Spread the Love -Shillong Dr. Mansankara Jyrwa informed, “Since it will not be very practical to send material itemds from Shillong to Kerala, we are looking mainly at collection of funds to help them with their necessities. Right now we are collecting only accepting donations in the form of money from Shillong and we are channelising it through the Bethel Ag Church in Bangalore. And if need arises, I myself with the team of doctors will go down to Kerala and help the victims there from the medical point of view”.

Spread the Love -Shillong was started a year ago in Shillong and comprises of a group of doctors, teachers and social workers. They have conducted various dental health camps in and around Shillong as part of their initiative.

He also informed that a Press Conference will be held tomorrow to apprise people of the situation and to seek aid from them. the venue and time is yet to be known and will be updated soon.

The members of Sree Narayana Guru Cultural Centre (SNGCC), Shillong have also requested anybody from Meghalaya, who is affected by the floods in Kerala to contact the following numbers for any assistance. 9436101241, 9436103472, 8129868499 (KN Babu, Chalakkudi), 9490753656 (Mohan Kumar, Vishakapatnam). This is aimed at ensuring that people from Meghalaya get a helping hand.

Eflu Shillong also organized a fund raising campaign for Kerala floods and the amount collected has already been sent to the destination.

It may be cautioned that a fake bank account attempting to collect funds in the name of Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund has been busted recently. The fraudulent account with number 20025290179, claiming to be the bank based from Trivandrum has been shared widely on social media.

It may be recalled that Manipur has donated a sum of Rs 2 crores as relief funds to the flooded-affected state of Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh has announced Rs 3 crore as immediate assistance, Tripura Government has decided to donate Rs 1 crore financial assistance, Nagaland has announced Rs. 1 crore flood relief and Assam government donated Rs 3 crore financial assistance for the relief activities in flood-ravaged state of Kerala.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended Rs. 700 crore as financial assistance to rebuild the flood-ravaged state.

Our source at ground have also informed us that the relief operations in Kerala are in full swing and the water is gradually receding. However, there is great need of funds for buying clothes, sanitary napkins, medicines, clean water facilities

The safest and preferred method of aid right now would be to deposit any amount directly to the Kerala  Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. The donations are exempted from income tax as well as Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.

Contribution can be made directly by going to donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in. Once the transaction is successful, you will get a payment success notification on the display as well as on your email address. This includes a certificate from the principal secretary (finance) as well as a 100 per cent tax exemption certificate.

In case you plan to send to mail a cheque/DD, you can address it to

The Principal Secretary (Finance) Treasurer,
Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund,
Secretariat,
Thiruvananthapuram – 695001

If you choose to donate online, account details are as follows:

Account number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
PAN: AAAGD0584M
Name of Donee: CMDRF

Those wishing to donate can also use the digital wallet PayTM to contribute to the fund. An icon on the home screen will guide you to the payments page. Additionally, users can use the link m.p-y.tm/Kerala-CMDRF. No additional charges are applicable. A QR code is also available for those who wish to use

(NOTE– Do you know know of anybody who is willing to donate or are accumulating funds for Kerala flood relief? Get in touch with us so we can help you spread the word)


You can get in touch with us at shweta@thenortheasttoday.com and web@thenortheasttoday.com

First Indian band to perform at Central America’s Belize Jazz Festival- 4th Element

 

TNT EXCLUSIVE | Shillong, July

By Rachel Syiemlieh

Shillong-based 4th Element has been around long enough to be right up there in the list of music pioneers in the city. An ensemble formed in the capital city of Shillong in 2007, 4th Element juxtaposes elements of jazz, funk, soul and RnB to create a contemporary, eclectic brand of music. The band has lived to actually witness Shillong’s musical growth itself, having celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and still shows no signs of slowing down, having recently been the only Indian band to ever play at the Belize International Jazz Festival in Central America. TNT – The Northeast Today speaks to band front-man and keyboardist Ribor MB, who has also played with renowned bands, Mojo and Soulmate, to discuss its decade-old music, Shillong’s growing music scene and their Carribean experience at the Belize International Jazz Festival.

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TNT: We know the band name ‘4th Element’ has nothing to do with the classical elements – earth, wind, water, fire. Mind telling us where it’s derived from?

RM: The music of 4th Element is based on the elements of Funk, Jazz, R’n’B and Soul.

TNT: You guys have been around since 2007. In what ways have the music and the audience in Meghalaya changed in the last decade?

RM: When the band started, the music of 4th Element was a new experience altogether, and the audience were kind of surprised to hear this kind of music. It didn’t take much time for this kind of music to be accepted here in Shillong and over the years the band has also influenced younger musicians to try and play this kind of music. We see a whole lot of variety of music being played and performed in Shillong now. The music scene in Shillong is definitely better.

TNT: Do you remember the first few records that had a lasting impression on you guys as a band?

RM: There are too many to name but here are a few:

Joe Sample, Lalh Hatahaway, Randy Crawford, The Crusaders, Earth, wind and fire, Incognito, Brian Culberston , Mezzoforte, Quincy Jones, James Taylor quartet…

TNT: The band has seen notable line-up changes over the years, the latest of which is vocalist, Sara Lee. Are we going to see her back any time soon?

RB: The band is like a football team, if one of the members is not free then a substitute is needed to fill in and the show must go on. Yes we’ve had a lot of session musicians who’ve played with us, over the years.  Sarah Lee is still very much associated with band, as the album in which she sang will be out soon by the end of the year. She will be featured in some upcoming shows as well; we wish her luck and success for her projects as a solo act.

TNT: Amabel Susngi has since joined the band and together you guys performed at the Belize International Jazz Festival in Central America. Tell us about the grand Caribbean experience.

RB: Amabel joined the band in March 2017 and we’ve done a couple of shows with her in Shillong, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Sikkim and the most recent The International Jazz Festival in Belize and a pub gig in Mexico as well.

The band had to travel four days to get to Belize and the moment we stepped foot in Belize we fell in love with this beautiful Caribbean country. 4th Element was really honoured to share the stage with incredible musicians from around the world.  The festival was a big success as well as for the band, as our music was highly appreciated by the audience and fellow musicians. The organisers of the festival have already hinted that they want 4th Element back next year.

TNT: This is the first time the festival has featured a band from India. How does that feel?

RB: Honoured! To be the first band from India to perform not just at The Belize International Jazz Festival but also the first band from India in Belize itself.

TNT: You guys have played in a number of festivals across the globe. Tell us about your most memorable performance.

RB: Every where we’ve played has its own special memories and experience. The people – musicians and the audience we’ve met will always have a place in our memories.  Meeting, and seeing musicians from all over the world perform has inspired us towards better aims and goals as musicians and as a band. We look forward to more festivals in the coming years

TNT: Khasi culture has a strong historical connection with music. Does it reflect the prominence of music in the region?

RB: It depends what kind of music you’re talking about but we do see nowadays that a lot of youngsters are trying to get back to singing the old Khasi folk traditional songs and also picking up indigenous instruments. This is a good sign as this will help in preserving the Khasi culture especially in the music context.

TNT: Shillong’s music scene is making strides – improving by the day. Will we see Fourth Element collaborating with local artists any time soon?

RB: No doubt the music scene is getting better. In the past the band had collaborated with a few local artists and we are always open to do the same in the future.

TNT: Tell us about your current projects. What is the band up to at the moment? Any gigs we need to mark on our calendars?

RB: A few shows are lined up for July, August and September in Delhi, Chandigarh and Guwahati as well as Shillong. The final stage for the album is also under the process and we hope to release this as soon as it’s ready.

Thank you for giving us your time. We look forward to more talks with you.

The interviewer can be reached at rachelsyiemlieh18@gmail.com


 

In a first, Nongstoin deploys effective ‘GPS Tracking Software’ for election monitoring!

Shillong News | Nongstoin, February 27, 2018

As Assembly Elections in Meghalaya are underway, for ease of monitoring the political parties and procedure, the Deputy of Commissioner of Nongstoin, West Khasi Hills Arunkumar Kembhavi informed that his team has developed an in-house GPS Tracking Software through which they would be able to monitor the polling parties on the day of dispatch from Nongstoin and immediately after the polling is concluded, on real time basis.

It may be mentioned that there are only two companies in the world who have mastered this type of tracking software namely Google and Uber. Hypertrack Inc is the third one.

ALSO READ: Meghalaya: Meet the former DC of West Jaintia Hills district, the only place in NE India where direct public interaction takes place

An aggrieved Shillongite’s rant on sky high petrol prices

 

Date: September 30, 2018 

To

Editor

TNT – The Northeast Today

 

India’s sky high petrol prices | ‘I might as well take a taxi… but for how long?’

Petrol and diesel prices across the country have been on the rise since April and continued rising on Friday with rates hitting new highs as oil marketing companies (OMCs) increased their costs.

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Petrol prices touched Rs 81.63 per litre in New Delhi, Rs 89.01 per litre in Mumbai and 81.05 in our dear Shillong city as on September 15, 2018.

I drive to work from Rynjah to Nongthymmai every day. It is not a very long drive and yet, I feel a burning hole in my pocket as I visit the petrol pump more frequently than I used to. Of course, I run errands for my job and my family too, but it has never sent me to a never-ending spiral of ‘I’m going to take a cab tomorrow instead’ everyday.

Meghalaya: ‘UDP committed biggest blunder by promoting Conrad Sangma as CM’- says proscribed HNLC

And even if I were to take these cabs, how long until they begin charging us a lot higher? The issue of the difficulties of even getting one is something different altogether. It is only a matter of time until the taxi fares in the city will rise and the drivers cannot be blamed for it.

Most establishments have shied away from the problem. The Delhi High Court said that daily change in fuel prices was an “economic policy decision” of the central government. The central government on the other hand, urged the states to take action.

Meghalaya: Man gets hit in the head with sword in neighbourhood clash

Some state governments have decided to take measures to curb the problem. The Rajasthan government had, on Sunday, announced a 4 per cent cut in the state VAT on petrol and diesel. The government of Andhra Pradesh has also announced a similar reduction by Rs. 2 per litre.

Now, I am by no means an expert and I only write as a concerned driver and citizen, but despite the fact that the trimming of excise duty and VAT will strip away government revenue for a while, I firmly believe that it will be worth it in the long run.

Yours truly,

A concerned citizen


You can also contribute articles, opinions and letters to the editor for our website by mailing them to us at web@thenortheasttoday.com and shweta@thenortheasttoday.com

We welcome your comments at web@thenortheasttoday.com

OPINION | Political campaigning or holidaying Sir? Asks Shillong Media!

Shillong | February 23, 2018

Poll bound Meghalaya is on a spree these days. With just 3 days to go for the election, politicians are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters as well as media people by holding daily press conferences with the press fraternity, rallying door-to-door in localities and taking up people’s grievances like never before. While politicians are expected to be media friendly at this crucial juncture where one’s act can make or break the image of a party, it seems some politicians, instead of campaigning are on a holiday spree to the Scotland of the East, Shillong!

Well everyone knows Shillong is a hill station and its scenic beauty is incomparable. Of late, several star campaigners of different political parties have visited Shillong but it should be noted, however, that in the name of campaigning, some ‘star campaigners’ seems to be holidaying in Shillong with family as they seek ‘free space’ when candidates are working round the clock to reach out to their electorates.

I am a Meghalaya SSA teacher and this is my sorry plight!

Date: August 14,2018

To 

The Editor

TNT- The Northeast Today

 

Respected Sir/Madam,

My journey as an SSA teacher in Meghalaya has been quite a dilemma . But I love my job as I love my family. Imparting knowledge and receiving the same amount of knowledge I have been doing and I consider myself to be still on a learning quest. As I enter my class, I don’t see myself as a teacher but I see myself as a father figure to gain and give moral values to my children.

So often, I have heard people say that teaching is an easy task, anyone can be a teacher if applied for a teacher in school or any institution and earn easily. Is that really easy as it seems from the outside? Well I can’t change someone’s point of view about certain profession. I would rather say that each and every profession has its own “Modus-Operandi”.

ALSO READ | Meghalaya | Agriculture non-bonded graduates also in murky waters over job recruitment

Let me put it my way, the profession which I have chosen is more ‘baby-sitting’, where I spend hours with thousands of children. My responsibility and priority increases manifold when I sit with them and when I have to make each and every one of them understand and learn. Like every finger in our hand is not the same, similarly every student’s way of understanding and grabbing things differs. But my duty is to make the children educated rather than just literate.

Apart from being teacher I am also a father, a husband, a son and a friend and also the only sole earner in my family. How am I doing? What is my part in my family? Are the questions which arises as month passes by. Earlier, before election I was told by a candidate that he would tackle SSA-teachers’ pending Salaries” and in a hope that at least he cares, I, and many like me voted for him and he fortunate or unfortunately won the elections.

ALSO READ | OPINION | Education in Meghalaya is a growing business – Part 1 by Mayborn Lyngdoh R

As months pass by, the situation remains the same, I am still empty-pocket, the only thing remaining with me is the debt from my relatives, neighbour and my friends. Day seems restless and night seems undending but do I have any other choice? Not being able to pay for my daughter’s school fees, not being able to fill the empty vessels and jars. Sometimes it pushes my limits, slits my passion and my career but do I have a choice?

With humble request to the state government: Respected Sir/Madam, please understand that before being a teacher I am a human being so please kindly consider my request and let each teacher like me live in peace with enough and timely income to feed me and my family.

An aggrieved teacher hoping against hopes 

Featured image courtesy: All Meghalaya SSA School Teachers’ Association – Ribhoi District Unit


You can also contribute articles, opinions and letters to the editor for our website by mailing them to us at web@thenortheasttoday.com and shweta@thenortheasttoday.com

We welcome your comments at web@thenortheasttoday.com

 

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