SHILLONG, Sep 30: Congress MDC representing Boldangre, Stevie Marak on Sunday said that Autonomous District Council Affairs Minister, James K Sangma’s recent statement in the Meghalaya Assembly on the pending salaries of Garo Hill Autonomous District Council’s employees as “Irresponsible”.
According to Marak, the Minister for Council Affairs is a leader of the people of Garo Hills and has been sent in representation to the Assembly.
“Therefore his statements of washing his hands off regarding the payment of the salaries of the GHADC employees is irresponsible and shows his incompassionate attitude towards the sufferings of the GHADC employees and his incompetence and non-commitment towards bringing a solution to this problem,” the Congress MDC said.
“If he is unable and unwilling to give a helping hand in this issue, his best plan of action would be to resign from whatever posts he is holding and also as a representative of the people,” he added.
It may be mentioned that during the recently concluded autumn session of the Meghalaya Assembly, Sangma told the House that the state government does not provide funds to the district councils for payment of salaries of MDCs and employees and also for other administrative and establishment expenditure.
“If, as James Sangma says, the revenue earned by GHADC is enough for the payment of the salaries, where is all the revenue leaking? And what about the revenue that the state government still owes the GHADC?” Marak asked.
Marak also said that if the District Council Affairs Minister should resign if he cannot solve the issue.
The Congress MDC said that if Sangma is unable and unwilling to give a helping hand in this issue, his best plan of action would be to resign from whatever posts he is holding and also as a representative of the people. He also said that the entire EC including the CEM and the Chairman should resign owing to their incompetence in handling the issue.
On the issue of fund flow to the GHADC, Marak pointed out that when Congress was in power at the state, the Executive Committee’s excuse was that because of difference in parties in the Centre, the State and the GHADC, the funds were not flowing.
Now, the Congress asked that NPP is an ally of the NDA government, it is leading a coalition government in the state with Conrad Sangma being the Chief Minister, and the present EC of the GHADC is also formed by the NPP, so why are the funds not overflowing?
Marak also stated that when Congress and allies formed the EC for six months during this term, they were able to pay six months of the staff salaries.
The Copngress MDC also said that another wrong that is being done to the staff is that when they are agitating for their rights, they are being threatened with termination of their services and legal action, when it is the GHADC and the EC who is on the wrong side of the law by depriving the staff of a livelihood by not paying the salaries for more than 15 months, which is unconstitutional.
Quoting the GHADC employees’ association, Marak said that when they met Conrad to apprise him of the situation and seek his guidance and help, he replied that he did not want the headache of the MDCs and the GHADC.
“It looks like both the ministers from Garo Hills has washed their hands off this problem and have turned a deaf ear to the sufferings of the employees of GHADC. It has become an embarrassing situation for the CEM and the EC and the CEM should take moral responsibility for the failure of his leadership and resign immediately and the EC dissolved,” Marak said.
The MDC also said that though the present ruling coalition at the state, the ministers representing Garo Hills and the EC may have turned their backs on the employees of the GHADC, the Congress stand with them and it will move as a strong opposition to solve this problem at the earliest and ease the suffering of the employees.