M’laya faulted on central schemes, admits MoS

SHILLONG, June 21: At a time when the National People’s party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance has been negotiating through rough waters over a litany of damning allegations of corruption, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla has blamed the state for neither implementing the central schemes properly nor sending proposals to avail them.
The sharp criticism of the state government by the Union MoS vindicates the interminable allegations levelled by the state BJP of aberrations in implementation of centrally sponsored schemes in the state.
The minister’s allegation against the government is likely to boost the morale of the saffron party which has been relentless in raising allegations against the NPP-led dispensation ranging from coal illegalities to the power scam. The party has also raised its voice against anomalies in the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission, besides the rice scam.
“I came to know that many central schemes are not implemented here. I have come here because the central schemes need to be implemented for the benefit of the people,” Barla told reporters at the state BJP office.
“There is no awareness of central schemes and they (state government) have not facilitated many schemes. I request the government to collaborate with the Centre,” he said.
He said state Health Minister James PK Sangma has been asked to go to Delhi to discuss the proposals for the development of the state.
Barla said his ministry can establish residential schools, hospitals, health centres, community halls, facilities for women and smart classrooms. “But the state should give the proposals first,” he said.
Pointing out that the ministry has already sanctioned Rs 247 crore and the work is going on for stadiums, health centres, etc, he asked the state government to send more proposals.
Barla added that the central schemes are given to Meghalaya at a ratio of 9:1 where the Centre pays 90% of the cost and the state 10%.
Barla also met the leaders of various religious groups. He found them to be unaware of the central schemes apart from a minority scholarship they thought was meant for only one community and not divided among six minority communities.
Advising the state government to hold camps for making people aware of the schemes, he cited the example of Manipur, which was awarded 42 community centres and 12 residential schools.
‘Cabinet to take call on minority status for Hindus’
The Union MoS said the Cabinet will take a decision with regard to the minority status for Hindus in Meghalaya. He also made it clear that no one from the state has approached him with the demand to accord religious minority status to the Niam Khasi and the Niam Tre people.
It may be recalled that citing the Centre’s assertion in the Supreme Court that states can consider granting minority status to Hindus if they deem so, All India Trinamool Congress MP Shanta Chhetri had demanded in the Rajya Sabha that the community be granted minority status in Meghalaya.
There is a long pending demand to recognise Khasis and Jaintias who profess the Niam Khasi and the Niam Tre as ‘minorities’ in meghalaya.
The practitioners of the Niam Khasi and Niam Tre constitute about 8.7% of the state’s population while the Hindus constitute 11.5%.
A petition demanding minority status for Seng Khasi and Niam Tre is pending with the High Court of Meghalaya.

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