Water supply halt: NGEA asks public to be patient

Council employees move HC over unpaid royalty

TURA, Feb 23: With the citizenry starting to bear the brunt of the impasse between the state government and the Non Gazetted Employees’ Association (NGEA) of the GHADC, the Association has now appealed to the people, who have been affected by the halt on water supply, to patiently cooperate.
As part of the ongoing strike over the unpaid salaries to GHADC employees, the NGEA has stopped the Council’s water supply to the citizens, and it is likely to continue until the chief minister’s assurance to the NGEA.
Demanding all the dues to be cleared before the GHADC elections, the Association, besides putting a halt on the water supply, has also decided to boycott their duties.
Taking to YouTube, the NGEA condemned the statement made by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma that most of the salaries of the employees were cleared by his government.
The Association also questioned as to why Conrad was keeping mum on the issue.
The NGEA also alleged that albeit the two months’ salary was doled out in December last year, the amount was yet to be credited to the accounts of many GHADC employees.
“We had demanded our two months’ salaries as per the new pay scale. But as the authorities requested us, we had to settle for the old one. However, most of the employees are yet to receive the salaries as it is yet to be credited to their accounts,” general secretary of NGEA, Brithen Sangma, said.
Sangma said that while the previous EC left behind a total of only six months’ unpaid salaries, the outgoing EC, led by the NPP, had allowed the pending salaries to accumulate to some thirty-plus months. Going by these facts, the Association said that the chief minister’s statement was not acceptable.
Sangma also alleged that the large-scale corruption had taken place during the term of the outgoing NPP-led EC with members siphoning off a huge amount of the Council’s funds.
The Association, while demanding an immediate arrest of all the guilty MDCs, also sought their debarment from contesting the GHADC elections.
Moving court
The agitating employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council have approached the Meghalaya High Court seeking its intervention over unpaid dues to the council from various government departments so that the money can be channelized for their pending salaries which have not been paid for over two years.
The advocate for the Non-Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA), PT Sangma, had filed a writ petition in the Meghalaya High Court.”We would like to highlight that we have filed another writ petition in the High Court of Meghalaya seeking direction from the Court to release the royalty share of Rs 55 crore to the GHADC to enable the Council to release the pending salary of the employee of GHADC. The High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the state respondents and directed to file their respective counter affidavits on the next date,” the NGEA said.
According to the NGEA, a sum of Rs 55 crore is still pending with the Meghalaya government since the three departments – Chief Conservator of Forests, Director of Mineral Resources and Commissioner of Transport – have not released the due royalty share for the year 2019-2020, even though the Secretary to the Executive Committee of GHADC had written to the departments on September 29, 2020.
Stating that royalty share is the only source of revenue which can be used for payment of salary to the employees, the NGEA charged the government of ‘willfully’ not releasing the royalty share compelling the association to seek legal recourse.

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