15 MLAs on foreign vacation at Assembly expense

4 officials including a typist part of delegation

From CK Nayak

 NEW DELHI: Come New Year, a huge team of 15 legislators of Meghalaya and four officials including a typist will be leaving for Manila (Philippines), Hanoi (Vietnam) and Bangkok (Thailand) for a 10-day long tour on January 26 – – all at the expenses of the State Assembly.

The delegation will be headed by the Speaker Charles Pyngrope

Much criticised foreign tour of the legislators is happening after a brief lull following widespread media criticism and public outrage. But as if this is not enough they will be leaving for “post-conference tour” to Bangkok for three days with no official programme fixed after a week-long official but undisclosed programme in Philippines and Vietnam.

The delegation includes A L Hek, Minister for General Administration, two Parliamentary Secretaries- L Rymbui, Dr Advisor Parong, embattled Government Chief Whip Ronnie V Lyngdoh. Careful steps were taken to include legislators from major parties and from all shades, possibly to avoid criticism again.

Names of some legislators were included and excluded even at the last moment.

One Manmohan Sharma, Executive Secretary of the Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development will also be part of the delegation.

But surprisingly, the request for “political clearance” for the Minister and Parliamentary Secretaries from the Ministry of External Affairs which is mandatory has come from the Assembly Secretariat instead of the State Government which is the practice, sources in the Ministry told The Shillong Times.

Request for clearance for a typist has also raised eye brows not only in the External Affairs Ministry but also in ministries of Home, Finance and Lok Sabha which all are required to give the go ahead.

More alarmingly, most of such visits are kept under wraps probably to avoid any controversy. The Legislative Assembly Secretariat has not disclosed much on the visits. The ministry sources here only said that the legislators are going to attend “official programmes” arranged by the Phillippines Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation & Interaction with Vietnam Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs.

Despite criticism the legislators of Meghalaya mostly Ministers and constitutional functionaries made foreign trips in between. But their number was few and included some known frequent flyers, who fly out of the country at the first opportunity.

But this time, such a big group which is one fourth of the total Assembly’s strength along with four officials flying to three countries at the Assembly’s expenses has created ripples in the corridors of power even at the national capital.

Get real time updates directly on your device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.