SHILLONG, Feb 22: The state government wants the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), which were set up for the protection of indigenous communities, to sustain themselves as they are independent institutions.
Stating that the government has advised reforms in the ADCs, a senior official of the state government said it is always not possible for the government to bail out a council facing financial difficulties.
He said the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) has taken a bold decision by abolishing more than 300 posts. According to the council’s decision, once the posts fall vacant, they will not be filled up. The official said the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) and the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council can emulate this.
The GHADC, which is going to elections on April 9, is faced with cash crunch. It requires a lot of money to clear the pending salaries of its employees. There are allegations that the GHADC and the JHADC had misappropriated central funds.
In 2015, an activist, Michael Syiem had filed a PIL in the High Court of Meghalaya for abolishing the ADCs in the state. The court, however, had advised him to either approach the Supreme Court or withdraw the petition since it also included the ADCs in other states of the Northeast. He, later, decided to withdraw the petition.
Former Congress legislator David Nongrum, who passed away recently, had also questioned the need for continuing with the ADCs. He argued that they had turned into a liability of the state government.
Officials maintained that the functioning of the ADCs needs to be streamlined, so they can sustain themselves. As of now, there is no clear-cut strategy.
Meanwhile, despite financial difficulties, the GHADC is preparing itself for the elections.
West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner, Ram Singh said the district administration is likely to receive the EVMs within this week. The EVMs will be dispatched from Shillong. He said the training of different personnel will begin following the issuance of notification.