Elections – Vehicle Requisition Time!
By Prof. G.T. Thong | EMN
Now that the Election Bugle has sounded, there is tension and dread amongst the Common Man; and rightly so, because their vehicles may be requisitioned any moment for the forthcoming elections. But there is nothing much that can be done about it because any vehicle can be requisitioned any time for any election conducted by the Election Commission of India (ECI). That is the rule! However, it is heart wrenching for the common man, many of whom have saved hard or got advances/loans to buy their vehicles for personal use.
While not undermining the ECI, and by extension the Election Department of Nagaland and its perfectly legal position of requisitioning vehicles, some thoughts on the subject, and its possible concessions and available options, crop up. Nagaland, the Government-vehicle capital of the world, probably has enough government vehicles to cater to the election needs of the entire state. Of course, some government vehicles (not all) attached to a few offices such as Police, Civil Administration, etc. cannot be requisitioned due to election related reasons. However, the vast majority can, and should be requisitioned.
It is well known to every individual in Nagaland that most of the higher level officers, many of whom should not even be entitled to a vehicle in this welfare state (elected members perpetually with begging bowls in Delhi), have two/three or more government vehicles illegally at their disposal. The elected members too have as many, or more government vehicles. These are besides any number of private vehicles of their own; definitely not purchased out of clean, hard earned money. Nagaland is one of the most corrupt states of India today, where extensive manipulation and open loot is the norm. Result? Retarded Growth! As if that were not enough, there have been rampant purchases of expensive vehicles, in thousand-fold excess of requirements for the corrupt, manipulative, and inefficient people manning the system. I do not mean to generalise because we do know there are some (very few) honest and deserving officers with a single vehicle who are quietly doing their bit to help change the rotten system. Most of these vehicles are also harshly and uncaringly misused along the river courses we used to know as roads a couple of decades back, because the government also foots the bills for their expensive maintenance.
Then we have the abnormally large fleet of licensed commercial vehicles (one wonders what the world record, in terms of ratio, is?), which have also added to our traffic woes. Most have suddenly disappeared from the scene to evade election duty, resulting in abnormal hike in fares along certain routes. We also have a large number of non-licensed taxis doing roaring business in parts of Nagaland.
The commercial and government vehicles should first be requisitioned for the forthcoming elections, instead of collaring the common man. If the requirement still exists, then the common man would definitely comply, without much complaint. If the commercial vehicles have gone into hiding, what’s the big deal? The RTO’s should have all their contact details. Any pretentions of being in workshops for major repairs during election time should lead to prosecutions. That is also the rule! All government/autonomous departments have details of all vehicles attached to their Ministers, Advisors, Chairmen, Parliamentary Secretaries, Administrative and Technical heads, staff, etc. Try that out, it should not be difficult!
Please spare the common man! Give him some respite, particularly during elections, if possible, from all the crap that has been unfairly dumped on him over the decades.