TURA, Feb 1: They were promised two months of their pending dues on time for Christmas. It did not happen. Christmas came and went. Then came the New Year and the Republic Day celebrations, but nothing went into their accounts.
Today, the new month of February 2021 has begun but scores of employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) are reeling under severe financial duress on account of not having received what was promised to them almost two months ago.
The GHADC went into government administrative rule after the expiry of the five year tenure of the executive committee, months ago.
Despite this transfer of power the financial situation doesn’t appear to be any better when one sees the condition of the employees.
“We were promised two months of our old salaries during the second week of December but nothing came through. We witnessed the biggest celebration of the year-which is Christmas, without a penny in our pockets or any gifts for our children. The authorities asked us to wait and since then we have waited for more than a month and a half with nothing to take home,” furious employees of the GHADC lament.
There is palpable anger among many of the council staff for the failure of their authorities in releasing their dues.
The government appointed administrator of GHADC, Vijay Kumar, IAS, had even assured that the remaining staff who did not receive their dues in December would be doing so by the second week of January. That date has long lapsed.
According to sources from the non-gazetted employees of the GHADC, a huge chunk of the staff who has so far not received their salaries belong to the council forest department, including officers.
“There are also employees from other branches and departments who have not gotten their dues. We were informed that the bill could not be passed due to shortage of funds,” allege some employees.
Attempts to get a clearer picture from the GHADC administrator, Vijay Kumar, was not reciprocated.
Government sources, in the meantime, informed The Shillong Times that the state government had recently released the share of royalty for the GHADC from the Motor Vehicle Tax amounting to a whooping Rs 96 lakh which could be used for disbursement of the pending salaries of those employees who have so far not received their dues.
“We want to know where the money that is coming into the coffers of the district council is being diverted. Every day a sizable amount of revenue is generated by various departments that are meant to be deposited in the GHADC treasury. Accountability should be there,” demand anguished employees.
As a section of the staff agitate over non-fulfillment of promises made by the council authorities, the striking employees union of GHADC, called the Non-Gazetted Employees Association, is toying with the idea of non-participation in the upcoming GHADC elections slated for April 9 over non-fulfillment of their demand for clearing of their salaries that are well over two years.