No Christmas cheer for GHADC staff

TURA: The festival of Christmas promises hope and cheer. But ironically, the same does not hold true for all at least in Garo Hills.
The several hundred still to be paid employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council will have to brace the winter chill and face the Christmas cheer without the comfort of having provided for their families during this festive season.
In a season which sees bright stars lighting up homes, children dressed in their Sunday best, frolic and gaiety all around, these employees and their families will suffer their grind because of the sheer callousness of their political masters.
The opposition National People’s Party-led Garo Hills Progressive Alliance runs the current executive committee in the GHADC while in the state it is a Congress-led government.
There is no love lost between the two bitter foes.
The Council depends heavily on the State Government to receive its share of revenue from the major and minor minerals which in turn is used to pay the employees their monthly dues.
As things stand today, the Council is five months behind in payment of salaries for its staff and the families of the employees are extremely worried since there are just three working days left before Christmas holidays begin.
Speaking to The Shillong Times on the financial turmoil plaguing the district council, the Chief Executive Member (CEM) and Williamnagar MDC, Denang T Sangma said that every attempt was being made to get the Council’s share of funds from the minerals revenue though he sounded skeptic about much progress being made ahead of the biggest celebration in Garo Hills.
“We have moved the state government to release the Council funds from the major and minor mineral share  and I along with my executive members have even met the Chief Minister in Tura during the winter festival celebrations to apprise him of the urgency. He has assured to look into the matter,” said CEM Denang T Sangma.
Interestingly, while the GHADC has forwarded its paperwork for obtaining the funds to the table of the Chief Minister in Shillong awaiting a response, the latter was in Garo Hills taking part in the winter festivals.
“Though we are trying our level best to get the funds, the working days are very limited,” a worried CEM highlighted.
He informed that another attempt at getting the funds is being made on Monday with the state authorities.
The district council is seeking its share of revenue from the state amounting to Rs 20 crore. The state owes the GHADC approximately Rs 15 crore from major and minor minerals share and another Rs 5 crore from transport, informed council authorities.
An attempt was made to acquire additional revenue from the auctioning of weekly markets in the Garo Hills but that didn’t take off since most auction money was yet to be paid by the successful bidders.
Many are skeptic about any worthwhile effort being made in the last working days before Christmas given the sheer number of financial works piled up with the banks and blame politicians for the troubles they have to endure.
With the GHADC having always been the epicenter of a political rivalry, it is the employees who may once again bear the brunt of these political uncertainties, while the powers that be are keen to settle their scores unmindful of the lot of the hapless employees.

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