Zenith: Rotational cabinet meeting waste of public money

Shillong, Nov 11: Following Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s response that holding cabinet meetings outside Shillong has cost the government Rs 19.1 Lakhs, Congress MLA Zenith Sangma said that it was a waste of public money.

The statement was made by the Rangsakona legislator during question hour on Day 4 of the Meghalaya assembly’s autumn session.

Zenith had asked the minister to state the fate of the ‘cabinet on the move programme’, the expenditure it incurred and the logic behind the programme.

The Chief Minister informed that the programme was suspended in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and that two meetings have been held prior to the suspension in Tura and Jowai.

He said that the logic behind the program was to bring the administration closer to the people of the State.

Zenith placed a supplementary question seeking to know how holding cabinet meetings in other parts of the State other than State Capital will bring the Administration or the Government closer to the people of the State.

Conrad responded saying the cabinet was able to connect at grassroots level and understand what the problem really are and access it better.

“It is not about we going and disturbing or interfering or making things complicated for the officers. The fact that the Ministers are going and sitting with them in the Tura office and Jowai office gives them a sense of belonging and motivation that – yes – the Ministers and the Government is concerned that they have come to meet us and see us and we are able to focus on issues that are related more to Jowai and Tura,” he said.

He added that decisions can’t be made from Shillong and that this was in ‘the overall interest of the people- we are able to connect to them better and ensure that we give governance and better delivery in the governance that we do.”

To this, Zenith responded saying the government should instead create new blocks, new districts, new civil sub-divisions to bring governance closer to the people.