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How to build your career: Some tips

 GUWAHATI: A one day Counselling programme was organized by “PRAYASH, Beyond the boundaries: Xikim aru Xikam” of Nabajyoti College, Kalgachia on 10th April, in collaboration with “Helpline Foundation”, Kalgachia on “Career Counselling and Entrepreneurship Development Path”. Dr Shahjahan Ali Ahmed, Principal of Nabajyoti College presided over the programme and he extended warm welcome to the participants and spoke on the importance of career development. Merina Ahmed, Co-ordinator of PRAYASH, has highlighted the objectives of the programme followed by the felicitation of the invited guests by Panchalee Baishya. Mr Ranjan Kumar Baruah, Career Mentor and Motivational Speaker, was the Resource Person of the programme. Mr Baruah, a recipient of The National Youth Award from Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt. of India in 2014, spoke on the occasion in his motivational speech he called upon the students to become human resource and advocated for building entrepreneurship among them.Mr Baruah highlighted on various newly developed job opportunities for students like conservation of wildlife, marine oriented opportunities, museology etc. In the closing part of the programme, the President encourages the participants to choose a right career. Dr M S Sheikh, B K Samal, Dr Dhrubajyoti Das, Nayanmoni Devi and many other senior most teachers were present in the programme. Apart from them there were good number of office bearers of Helpline Foundation, Kalgachia also participated. The programme ended with the Vote of thanks by Dr Kakali Hazarika.

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KPLT hostage drama ends

25 Nov 2013 - 8:26am | AT News

KPLT has freed all the workers 24 hours after they kidnapped at gunpoint from Kaziranga.         The five remaining workers reached Kohora on Sunday nights.              Seven have been released a few hours after they were forcibly taken away to the jungle.        The reason is yet to be confirmed.

Withering Meghalaya

1 Aug 2014 - 7:29pm | Rajiv Roy
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council's eviction of illegal traders in Shillong has earned both accolades and criticism from the public. Those who are showering praise are doing so merely out of joy as the non-tribals are targeted whereas criticism are also flowing from the same tribesmen – whose shops are let off to non-tribals – who are affected by the closure. The tribal owner is largely affected in the same way as the rented shopkeepers. So, in a way the condemnation that are flowing from so called NGOs are in reality against the tribal owners for having letting off their shops to the ‘outsiders’. But those who are praising the district council move have they ever tried to go into the real issue as to why these shops were let off by their own brethren to non-tribals.
This author is told by a number of these tribal owners that they prefer renting their business establishments to non-tribals because then they are sure of their businesses sustainability with regular incomes from them. There is a sincerity of purpose among the non-tribal traders who run their businesses with dedication. They don’t prefer tribal traders because they are erratic and because of their non-commitment they cannot pay regularly their owners. Many such tribal owners said that they have suffered in the past letting off their properties to tribal traders because they would hardly open their shops for days together, whereas no timing is maintained when they happen to open them. As a result they lost on their regular incomes. It is also a practice among other tribal businessmen here to employ non-tribal workforce because they are dutiful. So what is the NGOs really talking about here. Even their own tribesmen cannot believe or trust their own brethren when it comes to doing business or employing people. It may sound harsh but this is the true side. This is indeed a common practice that can be seen even in neighbouring Guwahati where business houses and other establishments do not prefer to employ locals. After all being a local does not guarantee one the right to work or ownership over businesses if they do not have the will and vigour. Business runs on trust, sustainability not lazily. This lethargic attitude is not going well even among fellow beings. One prime example in this regard are the big buildings coming up in every nook and corner of the town in order to extract maximum rents and live life without having much to do.
There is also some condemnation from certain NGOs that tribals are fighting for the causes of non-tribals regarding the eviction drive at Iewduh. It is unthinkable, rather what these NGOs may not have noticed, ignorantly or deliberately, that the tribal landowners came out and attack the enforcement officials for themselves because with the sealing of shops their earning has gone down drastically. It doesn’t take much of wisdom to see this simple logic. Also, when a landowner has given his premises on rent and if there is any incident then it is quite right that the landowner would come out in rescue of those whom he has given shelter. But that certainly does not mean that one has to attack others with lethal weapons and likes. The crux of the matter is that everybody is affected from these shops sealing from the shopkeeper to its owner and if anybody is trying not to see the real side of the coin then he/she is only fooling around with self. The other true side of any market, be it Iewduh, Fancy Bazar (Guwahati) and what have you, are traditionally in the hands of non-locals always. This is the dynamics of markets everywhere. This market nomenclature is in existence since the time of the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro Civilization because a marketplace is a combination of all classes of people. If that is disturbed then it no longer remains a market.
What is absurd about the district council move is that now journalists have also been targeted for labour licences followed by porters. Since when journalists have been identified as labour, are journalists labour? Then it is high time that the district council come up with a new definition on labour. This is an insult to the profession of journalism and the worst part of this imbroglio is that no media bodies from the state so far have uttered a single voice on this matter. Their patronage cannot be misunderstood anymore. The levy of professional taxes on working journalists besides renewal of labour licence, as learnt, after every six months will have a cascading effect. This is double taxing since in one hand an employee is already paying income tax whereas with the professional tax to be levied by the district council it will certainly discourage journalists from serving in the state. It will dispirit those reputed journalists from other states who are serving here for long. Now with work contracts in few organizations, after the execution of Majithia Wage Board and double taxing, they have no other way than to return to their native. This is certainly not good news for journalism in Meghalaya which has always been on tenterhooks. Will the journalists run after his daily news or wait unendingly to obtain or renew a labour licence. With tribesmen from this region need to deal with so much in mainland and now these moves of the district council is only making things worse for their own brethren as these are spreading in various platforms, opined many right thinking Meghalayans working outside this region. This has not gone down well in the journalist fraternity in Shillong and came up for discussion at the recently held Meghalaya Editors’ and Publishers’ Association at The Shillong Club where there was a consensus that this needs to be nipped in the bud.
Another aspect is whether the eviction drive against non-tribal traders in Iewduh has any correlation with the NE tribesmen facing racial abuses in the national capital and elsewhere in the country. Well many would not think it to be so but looking at it from the angle of Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction” does prove it to be true. Also from the spiritual angle which states that one has to repay one’s deed, good or bad, in this very life, proves this. So, one may feel safe now that the tribesmen from Meghalaya have not yet been targeted like their Manipuri counterparts in the national capital and elsewhere but then Newton’s Law and spiritual wisdom have not been framed out of nothing.
Meghalaya today along with few other regional states are running briskly in an opposite directionless destination. With so many parallel governments – NGOs, district councils, pressure groups, coal lobby – besides the democratically elected government, Meghalaya is a classical example of “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. It is in no way connected with the globalization. The forces of globalization are like an insect which gulps everything but is not visible to the naked eye. The only stand that states and nations can take is to keep pace with the globalization or else sync into extinction. There is no middle path here. Meghalaya today believes that it has adopted a middle path but cannot see its imminent extinction. The demand for Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, empowering institutions like district councils, traditional headmen, rat-hole mining and what have you here is earning deride from fellow Meghalayans in mainland who can understand where this world is moving. That such an act is detrimental for development is not in sync with the NGOs. It is something like Mizoram where someone has in the past said that they do not want development rather strict laws that thwart entry of outsiders. What would be the condition of such mindset people in this globalized era is beyond imagination, indeed.
A Shillong based author, Salil Gewali has done a beautiful compilation of quotes by famous personalities from all over the globe on Indian wisdom in a book titled, “What is India”. This book is doing wonders cutting across boundaries. Now, if somebody takes a similar initiative, say, “What is Meghalaya” then what can he jot down. Meghalaya today is in total doldrums. Here the chief minister is not seen in his office whereas the main secretariat looks more or less like a club where anyone can come and go anytime. An octogenarian resident and a former businessman from the city told this author about his good and bad experience about the main secretariat. The club like appearance of the secretariat is nothing new as learnt from him. The gentleman while narrating tales of yesteryears said that he has seen secretariat staff reaching their office at midday. After reaching immediately they take out their makeup articles from their vanity bag and refurbish their facial appearance which got tampered on the way. No sooner, tea and snacks were served and those who have brought their tiffin carrier start gulping them. After taking some rest work starts at 2pm and ends in no time as they start moving to their homes as the clock strikes 3:30pm. This is certainly the ugly side. The good side, said this gentleman, was during the tenure of chief secretary, Jaffa. Under his regime all staff used to visit their office on time and leave after the siren is blown at the State Central Library. Jaffa maintained strict vigilance on his staff and under him work flow was tremendous. But now with everything indigenous work has come to a standstill.
The Garo Hills situation is going worse day after day. There is no civil liberty as gun rule has taken over. Former Meghalaya Governor, RS Mooshahary raised his voice every now and then on his own. He even spoke in his capacity on the sidelines of public functions about his take on certain issues in the state and region at large concerning militancy. This author spoke to him on several such occasions. However, his successor is not heard or seen making any comments whereas Garo Hills has reached the pinnacle of mayhem. A former defence personnel would observe with such muteness when a region of the state where he is serving is burning every day is certainly indigestible. Though Mooshahary was from the same defence background but there is indeed a striking difference between the predecessor and the successor.
Lok Sabha MP from Shillong, Vincent H Pala moved a couple of bills in the ongoing parliament in New Delhi. He was never seen so concerned about any other issues plaguing Meghalaya that he raised them in the parliament with the aid of bills like what he has done recently. With Jaintia Hills region of the state losing its identity perhaps due to the blanket ban on rat-hole mining by National Green Tribunal and Pala’s stand in the parliament many here opined that he has actually proved that he is the MP of the coal traders. Well, he may be so but what about Wansuk Syiem, the Rajya Sabha MP. What is her contribution so far in the state except alleging that the ruling government is neglecting the region? Actually the political class here are unhappy with the drying up of central doles that were earlier flowing from the national capital without any rhyme or reason. Only a visit there was enough to bring home a basketful. But now with the Planning Commission of India yet to be commissioned by the union government, things have certainly changed for political opportunists. It is high time that legislators from mainland are made MPs here similar to what we have seen in neighbouring Assam recently and see whether they can deliver in comparison with our tribesmen.

Assam Rifles facing flak

28 May 2014 - 5:44pm | Rajiv Roy

The “Friends of the Hill People” – Assam Rifles (AR) – tagline turns out to be most ‘unfriendly’ when it comes to treating its own employees and jawans. As it is said charity begins at home, perhaps, there is much more to be desired from AR. It has come to light that due to absence of judicious and vibrant surveillance of the higher stature of administration, the AR is presently in a degradation mode due to imposition of many detrimental steps on its employees, resulted in spiral increase of discontentment among a large number of employees of different cadres – combative or civilian – most are related to pay-scale matters. This, ‘crisis of governance’ in AR inculcated debacle in the career prospect of the service holders due to ‘wilful’ mishandling of the issue at the cost of administrative power. If such ‘unlawful’ actions are allowed to continue, it will invite volcanic retaliation unless a pragmatic observation with effective steps is taken in time. AR cites ‘delusive’ reasons to all these allegations amidst alleged involvement of it in a Contempt of Court Order.

According to documentary evidences made available to AT, the root cause is that a few Army officers serving under deputation at the Administrative Branch of AR Headquarters at Laitkor area in the outskirts of Shillong town headed by a particular Colonel rank official, alleged aggrieved pensioners, are ruthlessly capsizing the issues by deliberate application of improper rules and constantly misleading all concerned, setting aside all applicable government rules, clarifications, audit observations of (PAG) Principal Account General (Audit), Meghalaya; direction of the (Directorate of Personnel and Training) DOPT (the repository authority of rules and regulations of Government of India); concurrence of the (Pay and Accounts) PAO (AR) among others. These aggrieved pensioners alleged that the concerned pre-audit authority of AR due to some vested interest, compelling the poor paid employees and pensioners to knock at the door of law with colossal drainage of their hard-earned money only for implementation of the government orders but not for any hybrid demand out of the rule. Though maximum beneficiaries have won their court cases but witnessing the vindictive attitude of AR invokes frustration and depressions in them. Even after obtaining favourable order, these employees and pensioners are further forced to move from Lower Court to Higher Court to the highest court of the land, Supreme Court so that the extreme mental torture and harassment can take place among the deprived beneficiaries invoked by AR. Such revengeful act of the employer to its employees is unprecedented in the tradition of this esteemed organization, which claims to be “Sentinels of the Northeast”, even as the recipients of President’s Police Medal, Governor’s Gold and Silver Medal have also not been spared from the wrath of unlawful acts of the vested group of officers, revealed these documents.

These document reveals that violation of 5th Central Pay Commission (CPC) has deprived employees of promotions because of the effective date of promotion on the basis of merger post arbitrarily as well as unlawfully setting aside proper applicable notified rules of 5th and 6th CPC. Not only this, these employees were even deprived of revised pay-scale fixation for the Assistants and its subsequent higher posts, as AR administration deliberately rejected all government orders and clarifications as well as audit observations et al because of which less pension and related benefits has been drawn by the pensioners. Further, due to wrong fixation of pay-scale it is having an adverse effect on the promotion of employees to higher posts. It has come to light that due to lapses in AR to update recruitment rules as per revised pay-scale employees are deprived of promotions deliberately on the basis of non-applicable revised pay-scale rules. The Deputy Accountant General, O/o Principal Accountant General (Audit), Meghalaya in his inspection report vide Letter No.E.S.-I/Cent/9-6/2-13-14/1835 dated 08/11/2-13 of Assam Rifles employees stated that the “... ‘road-map’ of pay fixation with the higher grade pay to its next higher posts also have been distinctly stated in another government order which were issued by the government time to time subsequently after the notification of 6th CPC. All these modifications were distinctly projected in the said audit para which were necessary to be incorporated in the earlier audit para on the same, therefore, it was essential to be superseded due to non-inclusion of those modifications.” This letter further says that these modifications were duly vetted by the Controller of Accounts of PAO (AR), after proper scrutiny as revealed and stated to comply with the audit instructions to rectify the pay and pension of the pensioners.

Many deprived pensioners also ventilated their grievances regarding pay and pension matters to the highest authority of AR from time to time. But the prayers were constantly disposed with antagonized reply ignoring the projected applicable rules of the petitions because it is best known to the administration that pensioners cannot raise their voice and proceed for litigation due to their pecuniary constraints and health condition. These documents exposed a jeopardized pensioner who explored the union government widely publicized that grievances of the pensioners are to be redressed within a stipulated timeframe of maximum three months. For that the government is spending huge amount of money by creating the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DPPW) facilitating it with online registration of grievances and the department has been empowered with the rule vide Office Memorandum No.K-15011/1/2006-PG dated 22nd May, 2006 wherein Sub-para-V of Para-3 it is clearly stated, “The Director of the Public Grievances of Ministries / Department of Government of India may call for the documents of the case and take a decision with the approval of the Secretary of the Ministry / Heads of Department / Organization if a grievance is not redressed within a period of three months.” 

Being encouraged with the extended facility, one jeopardized pensioner submitted his grievance regarding receipt of innumerable ‘delusive’ reply from AR rejecting the applicable rules projected in many petitions. Accordingly it was prayed to the Director of DPPW to consider his grievance with their prerogative power as it will be a futile exercise again to send it to the department of AR. Even then it was processed through Ministry of Home Affairs to the Department of AR. As usual, the department further disposed it with same ‘delusive’ reply even after expiry of more than three months of registration. Accordingly further complaint was lodged to pension grievance department to initiate appropriate course of action to that ‘delusive’ reply of the AR. There is no action yet and the pensioner is still under crucifixion of injustice since last four years. Such ‘fake’ action of the pension grievance department is the ground reality as witnessed by this bewildered pensioner, whose documents openly proves. This is not the only instance of unaccountability of governance in AR, there are probably many more, as learnt.

In another instance it is known to all that an aggrieved jawan of AR has climbed on to the top of a 200ft power transmission tower in New Delhi on 4th August, 2013 for non-redressal of his grievance on wrong pay-scale entitlement, which was sustaining un-action and was projected in different media all over the country. There are several courts cases lodged in different courts for similar issues and for that huge amount of money are being flushed out from the government exchequer just for accomplishment of an ‘egoistic unlawful’ view in the context of pay-scale and allowance matter. In another similar instance, due to frustration a victimized employee of AR attempted suicide, last year. Ram Bahadur, 46, of 24 AR posted at Tengnoupal town of Chandel district in Manipur bordering Myanmar pumped in three bullets in his stomach and was immediately taken to Army Hospital. His condition was serious, though investigation was ordered to know what prompted him, who had served for more than 27 years, to take such a drastic step, courtesy Indian Military News dated 09.06.2013.

In a recent judgment of Meghalaya High Court, MC WP (C) 338 of 2013 In CONT CAS (C) 24 of 2009 Judgment Order dated 31.10.2013 by Judge, TNK Singh passed “... In the present scenario, Delhi is not far away from the Headquarter of Assam Rifles i.e. Shillong for processing file for implementing the direction of this Court in the judgment and order dated 30.03.2009 passed in WP (C) No.200 (SH) of 2008. In such circumstances, it is difficult to see i.e. the efficiency of the Army personnel as well as personnel dealing with this matter. We do not expect that Army personnel will be inefficient in their discharging duties for compliance with the direction of this Court. Callousness on complying with the direction of this Court should be recorded in the ACRs of the concerned Army personnel whoever be the General or Senior Officer and should be brought to the notice of the concerned authorities at the time for considering the promotion of that officer or for giving higher responsible to that officer.” 

These aggrieved pensioners further alleged that no action has been taken on this judgment of the court. “Whatever it may be, but it is clear and concrete evidence that the concerned officers are least bothered for the welfare of the organization, no respect and regard on lawful administrative functioning, modalities as per laid down rules as well as the Constitution of India, no respect for democracy, which proves doubtful integrity of the office. It is the need of the hour to take proper measure and notice of such “devastating governance” which is the essential component of development since that is the prime agenda of the new government. Otherwise all efforts and endeavour will simply amount to nothing but a futile exercise like preserving water in a perforated pot,” said these aggrieved pensioners. 

AR however reasoned it to ‘merger of pay-scale and posts’ because of which disparity does not stand to be justified. But aggrieved pensioner alleged that AR deviated from the enshrined applicable notification of 6th CPC and this notification cannot be overruled by any kind of executive direction. These pensioners point holds water since Alok Saxena, Director, Department of Expenditure, Implementation Cell, Ministry of Finance in an Office Memorandum dated 16.11.2009 clearly stated that parity of pay scale has been established by the union government only up to the level of Assistants. So question of pay-scale and post merger, as claimed by AR, stands in-fructuous reasoned these pensioners since Assistant is a specified post as per the notification and ‘merger of pay-scale and post’ is applicable only for unspecified posts which is not applicable to AR. Even the Controller of Accounts (NE) and Financial Controller (AR) while scrutiny found that all the observation on pay and pension anomalies deserves rectification as per applicable rules and approved that rectification should be made.