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Meghalaya: FIR filed against Dr. Mukul Sangma for poll code violation ahead of Ampati polls

From Our Correspondent

Tura, May 27, 2018

A day after his daughter, Miani D Shira, filed a case of poll code violation against James and Agatha Sangma, today the National People’s Party (NPP) accused the Songsak MLA and leader of opposition, former CM Dr Mukul Sangma of a similar violation.

Campaigning for the Ampati seat got over at 4 pm yesterday and the constituency is due to vote tomorrow, beginning 7 am.

In an FIR filed against Mukul by the NPP, the party accused the former CM of camping in the village of Bollongitok where he allegedly intimidated and then tried to buy off voters from the village. The FIR was filed at the Ampati PS in South West Garo Hills.

The FIR filed by Ian Botham K Sangma of the NPP stated that, “Even after the end of campaigning yesterday, the Songsak MLA was in the village of Bollongitok late at night campaigning and illegally trying to intimidate and buy the villagers to vote for the INC. This is a clear violation of the poll code of conduct,” said Sangma while asking for immediate action in the case to ensure free and fair elections.

SWGH police chief, Bobby W Momin confirmed receipt of the FIR with a case being filed today.

Meghalaya: Cross border kidnappers abduct resident from South West Garo Hills; Investigation on

From Our correspondent

Tura | May 24, 2018

Criminals from across the border in Bangladesh have struck once again after a group of such criminals kidnapped an Indian resident from near the village of Purakhasia in South West Garo Hills.

The incident, which took place at about 12 am this morning, has sent shockwaves through the people residing close by with many questioning as to why such acts are not being prevented. The area falls under the jurisdiction of WGH police, despite being in a separate district.

The victim has been identified as one Palgun Arengh of Rimtangpara in SWGH.

The abduction seems to the handiwork of Bangladeshi nationals with support from criminals from the Indian side as well.

“According to his wife, he was called out of his house by unknown persons, who called out his name. He went to see who it was that was calling him but did not return. His wife, who had stayed back, later went searching for him after he failed to return and that is when she came to know that he was abducted,” confirmed superintendent of police, WGH, Dr MGR Kumar.

Police teams of Purakhasia outpost, immediately after getting information of the kidnapping, were mobilized and a search for the abducted Arengh is currently on.

“We are not sure if he has been taken across the border and all border personnel have been alerted,” added Dr Kumar.

Hitting out at what he called lax security on the international border, Silning D Sangma, a member of AYC as well as a border resident said, “This is not the first kidnapping by criminals from Bangladesh. The centre is not paying attention to the need for strengthening security at the border, leaving all of us as targets of such criminals.”

He further asked the BSF to keep their eyes open to such matters to prevent such incidents occurring in the future. “They should do their duty with honesty and sincerity,” he felt.

Meghalaya: NPP – Congress workers clash in poll-bound Ampati

From Our Correspondent

Tura, May 24, 2018

As the dates of Ampati elections draws closer, political parties are trying their level best to woo voters in the constituency. But amidst the high voltage campaigning, reports of Party workers of both the National People’s Party (NPP) as well as the Congress being involved in a major scuffle in poll bound Ampati have arrived even as timely intervention from the police led to a control in the amount of damage done.

The incident occurred at about 8:30 pm last night in the village of Betasing under the constituency where over 100 people from both sides started a fight that lasted for some time before the police intervened.

According to sources, the fight may have erupted due to Congress workers stopping a group of NPP workers from campaigning in a village under Betasing which led to frayed tempers and eventually to a fight.

“There was an altercation between the two groups at the site. Our patrol party was on duty and immediately after we saw things erupt, the police intervened. As there were more than a 100 people in the group and one particular person was bearing the brunt of the beatings (Dharkan Sangma of the Congress), we moved in to save him,” said superintendent of police, SWGH, Bobby Momin.

Sangma is also the president of the Ampati Youth Congress.

Rumours of Sangma allegedly being arrested immediately led to another chaos as over 700 Congress workers, including senior leaders, swooping down on the Betasing outpost demanding to know the reason for Sangma’s arrest   .

“He was never arrested. We only picked him from the group as he was being beaten up and needed to be protected,” said Momin on the rumours.

Later NPP workers also reached the Betasing outpost and accusations were hurled at each other.

“There was a huge argument within the outpost which was amicably sorted only at about 1 am this morning. They all went home thereafter,” informed the SP.

Sangma, according to police suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.

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

By Mayborn Lyngdoh R | May 24, 2018

With the SSLC and HSSLC results at hand, the business mood of the schools and colleges are in tune.

Forms and prospectuses are stacked and ready. Some have already been successful in selling off a good number of them. The forms come at Rs. 300, Rs 500, Rs. 700 and so on.

Students and parents blindly purchase these forms without being actually certain of the result awaiting. Most of these forms are wasted because the students do not attain the required percentage. The forms though left unfilled, can never be reimbursed. Of course it’s not the institution’s fault. “One should know of one’s potential”.

Fees structure

The fees structure is one which is very lucrative. The fees-structure starts with Rs. 20,000 in most schools and colleges for the XI standard and Rs. 25,000 or more for the bachelor’s irrespective of the stream. As I was looking at the fees structure of my sister, a question dawned on me for a split of a second, “That’s a lot. Can we afford this?” We are a middle-class family, both of my parents are government servants, “Yes we can!” I then realised that that is a question that is being asked by so many families. Sadly, not everyone can say, “Yes we can!”

Last year when I was on a cab, I over-heard two men talking about the SSLC. Apparently, their children had just cleared the exam, securing the first division. The two men congratulated each other and spoke at large of the hike in fees in the recent years. One of them said, “We have come to an age where instead of having tears of joy that our children have done well in the exams, we have tears of sorrow knowing we will not be able to afford for their higher education”. It was heart-breaking.

I can only wonder how many untold stories are out there with silent tears that die every single year only to be heard by silent broken dreams and aspirations of parents who cannot afford and the young students whose gleaming eyes were forcefully shut by diabolic claws of this great business called “EDUCATION”.

This takes me to the next point to be discussed –

Per-capita income:

According to the Economic Times and Times of India dated May 31, 2017 the percapita income of an average Indian is Rs 1,03219 per annum, which means that an average Indian earns Rs 8601 per month.

Meghalaya on the other hand has a per capita Income of Rs 79,332 ( “STATE WISE DATA” (PDF). rbi.org.in. Reserve Bank of India, New Delhi. Retrieved 17 February 2017). Which means that the per capita income of an average citizen of Meghalaya is Rs. 6611.

If we are to think logically, even if the fees structure was Rs. 15000 per annum, then a family having two children who’ve just passed SSLC or HSSLC will have to live with Rs. 1,10000 for a year with all the other expenses that comes along (House rent, food, clothes, washing-powder, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, taxi-fare, bus-fare, tiffins, drinking water, uniforms, books, stationeries, shoes, slippers, socks, gas, electricity bills) that are some of the basic necessities of life.

Not all of us are blessed to have both parents, what if the parent is a single mother or a single father?

Should that family cease to exist altogether?

Shillong, the mesmerising beauty tagged with the name “Scotland of the East” and “Rock Capital of India” though is the capital of Meghalaya, you’ll find a myriad families living Below Poverty Line (BPL). A good number of them are in Nongmensong alone.

There has been many efforts which has been taken to increase the literacy rate of Meghalaya by the various ministers that were short-sighted.

A classic example is when the then Education Minister of Meghalaya decided to change the education system by advising the MBOSE to make it a best of five which means students are allowed to fail in Mathematics or Science and Technology and still pass. This was in the year 2011.

This was hailed as a masterstroke as the passing percentage did improve but sadly the outcome was something that was not expected by the then Minister. The quality of education was on a downward sloping curve while the increase in fees structure started to peak.

Most students failing in Mathematics and Science are the ones coming from the urban areas. Students in the urban areas well-grounded in language. They are less hard-working because they come from well-to-do families (Note: be reasonable enough to understand it’s not aimed at everyone).

However, students from the rustic areas normally fail in English or Alternative English because of the poor quality of education.

The passing of these undeserving students has apparently led to an influx in demand for education in institutions. This influx basically comes from the passing of those undeserving students who can afford any fees structure put in front of them.

It would not be wrong to say that education is slowly but steadily becoming a bourgeois enterprise. In the next generation, Meghalaya will be divided into two sections “Haves” and “Have Nots”. One will be the reigning generation of masters that will filtrate from generation to generation, and the other, a generation of bonded servants to serve. You can argue and be try to be as delusional as you can, “Knowledge is power” and as far as India is concern, formal education is the parameter.

P.S. There are too many students that drop-out because education is becoming too expensive. It’s time we recognize.

DISCLAIMER: The opinion expressed in the article belongs to the writer and TNT- The Northeast Today may not subscribe to the same views


The writer can be reached at calebdelshe@gmail.com

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

We welcome your comments at web@thenortheasttoday.com

IN PICTURES | Ampati Election 2018: High Voltage poll campaigning by NPP

TNT NEWS | May 21, 2018

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong and C&RD Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar campaign for NPP candidate Clement G. Momin along with other party members at Betasing on Monday for the upcoming Ampati by-election.

The National People’s Party (NPP) has decided to field former school teacher Clement G Momin as their candidate for the upcoming by-election to Ampati constituency in South West Garo Hills district.

Momin will take on former chief minister Mukul Sangma’s 27-year-old daughter Miani D Shira for the May 28 by-poll.

Conrad K. Sangma was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, C&RD Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, Chief Advisor to the Chief Minister Thomas K. Sangma, CEM of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council Dipul Marak and a host of MLAs and other party functionaries from Nagaland.

“People of Ampati constituency gave the mandate to Mukul Sangma but he did not respect the mandate and left Ampati for his political interest”, said Conrad K. Sangma addressing an election rallies at Rongsang Abagre and Betasing.

Terming Congress party for misinformation campaign that post by-election, Congress will form the Government, the Chief Minister said, “NPP candidate Clement G. Momin is the consensus candidate of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA). The Congress party has no other issue to raise so they are trying to lie and create confusion amongst the voters.”

He ridiculed the Congress for their claims that Mukul has given time to NPP and its partners to run the Government for six months.

Allaying the fears of the people in Mukul stronghold, Conrad K. Sangma said, “NPP and its coalition partners will campaign in Ampati constituency for the next few days to demonstrate that Mukul and Congress party has nothing to prove rather than create confusion.”

He assured that NPP and its coalition will last full term and will emerge victorious in successive elections from here onwards.

“Congress has no number to form the Government. Whether they win or loss they have nothing to gain from this election. Mukul is trying to satisfy his ego by fielding his daughter Miami D. Shira,” said Conrad while clarifying the confusion created by the Congress.

Urging the people to consciously vote for their chosen candidate, Conrad asked Mukul and Congress party to respond as to what gave them a reason to believe that NPP and its coalition Government will not last.

“Clement G. Momin is the consensus candidate of MDA and there should be no confusion to believe that this Government will not last. We are all united and we will be there for the people of Meghalaya for the next 25 years,” he added.

He said that Congress party believes in delivering welfare schemes based on party affiliation, which is against the mandate of the people. He said that the activities of the Congress are unbecoming of leaders, which is a reason that the party is being reduced in successive elections.

“There is no point to vote for Congress as they will sit in opposition”, he added.  Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong termed Mukul Sangma as an ungrateful leader and sought people’s support to choose NPP candidate.

“Ampati is a prestigious constituency, where Mukul Sangma started his political career but his leader of yours’ is ungrateful as after winning both Ampati and Songsak he decided to leave Ampati. So friends give a befitting reply to him in the upcoming by-election,” said Tynsong.

Tynsong said that Congress is a broken party and always keeps fighting within itself.

“I and Sniawbhalang Dhar resigned from the Congress because of the infighting in the party right from Delhi to the State level committee,” he added.

Tynsong told the crowd that after Williamnagar election the fight between Deborah Marak and Mukul Sangma started, which is all before our eyes. Urging the people not to get confused further he said, “People vote for NPP because we are united and respect the leadership of Conrad K. Sangma.”

Top party functionaries from Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya are campaigning in different parts of Ampati constituency to garner support for the party candidate Clement G. Momin.

Nagaland State President Ato Yeptomi and General Secretary Sashank Gataraj also spoke at length enlightening the people about the leadership of Conrad K. Sangma and his growing popularity and acceptance in Northeast as a leader of the mass.

Meghalaya: Over Rs 4 lakh cash seized in poll-bound Ampati

From Our Correspondent

Tura, May 6, 2018

As election dates appear closer for poll bound Ampati, instances of cash seizures and the likes are coming into the limelight. The South West Garo Hills (SWGH) district administration in conjunction with election officials seized over Rs 4 lakhs from a vehicle while it was being transported in poll bound Ampati on Saturday.

According to information received, the team consisting of election officials, static surveillance teams, police along with magistrates made the seizure of Rs 4, 29,800 from near the village of Garobadha in the district.

Interestingly the person, a VEC secretary claimed the cash belonged to him and was meant for distribution under MGNREGS.

Election Code of Conduct mandates that cash above Rs 50,000 cannot be carried at one time.

“The matter is currently being investigated. With election code of conduct already in place, such huge amounts are prohibited from being carried around,” said Dikki D Shira, the additional deputy commissioner of SWGH.

Ampati will go to polls on May 28 with at least 3 candidates, Congress’ MIani D Shira, NPP’s Clement Momin and BJP’s Bakul Hajong likely candidates in what is expected to be a very interesting fight. The by-election has been necessitated after former CM, Mukul Sangma, gave up the seat, having won both Ampati and Songsak in the recently concluded polls to the state.

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