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Ampareen rules out discussion with SMB staff

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Municipal Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on Friday ruled out the possibility of any discussion with employees of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) on their various demands including payment of their pending arrears.

The Shillong Municipal Employees’ Association (SMEA) had threatened to agitate if the Government failed to comply with their various demands within the 14-day deadline beginning November 30.

“Since I have nothing new to tell the employees about the status of their various demands, it would be a futile exercise to call them for discussion,” Ampareen said.

The Municipal Affairs Minister also reiterated that the SMB employees had unanimously agreed that the arrears would be paid as and when funds are available. “The employees had agreed to this condition laid by the Government at the time when their salaries were raised as per the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission,” she said, adding, “Forgot about the arrears, the SMB does not even have the requisite funds to pay their salaries.”

Ampareen informed that the SMB was forced to borrow some amount from MUDA to pay the salaries of its employees.

“The SMB with more than 700 plus employees is over staffed. Since the revenue generated by the Board is very small, the Government has always been generous to allocate funds for payment of salaries,” she said, while adding that to permanently solve this problem, a proposal has been made to the Government to earmark specific funds for the salaries of the SMB staff in the budgetary allocation made to the Urban Affairs Department.

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