SHILLONG, Sep 27: Congress MLA from Mawsynram, Himalaya Shangpliang on Thursday said that the government was trying to avoid responding to questions on the functioning of weighbridges in the state.
“There is a deliberate attempt by the government to dodge this question,” Shangpliang said.
The MLA made these charges during the question hour when a query which he had directed to the Transport department was answered by the Legal Metrology department.
“I had actually directed the question to the Transport department but the reply today was given by the Legal Metrology department,” Shangpliang said even as he sought to know from the government under whose jurisdiction weighbridges lies.
Pressing the matter further, the Mawsynram legislator stated that the opposition wanted to know why weighbridges run by private individuals were closed down and the government took upon itself to run them.
According to Shangpliang the government took over 10 weighbridges and began operating them on their own.
He wanted the state Transport Minister to answer supplementary questions, but this was disallowed by the Speaker, Dr Donkupar Roy since he said that the Minister will not be able to reply.
Initially, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma also did not answer to supplementary queries but did subsequently.
Intervening on the matter, opposition leader, Dr Mukul Sangma said that the constitutional provisions states, the cabinet will be collectively accountable to the House.
Dr Sangma said that it was the duty of the Chief Minister to reply on behalf of his cabinet colleagues.
Meanwhile, deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong said that the convention of the House was that once a question has been replied by any department the questioner should continue with it.
The opposition leader also wanted to know who are the people manning these weighbridges. “…whether these are people from the department or by private individuals,” Dr Sangma said.
Umroi legislator George B Lyngdoh expressed surprised that out of the 103 weighbridges in the state, 40 are located in Ri-Bhoi district even as he questioned the need to have so many weighbridges.
In his reply, the chief minister pointed out that specifically out of the 40 weighbridges in Ri-Bhoi district only two are run by the government while the rest by private individuals.