Saturday, December 2, 2023

Stop wasteful expenses or get sued, HYC warns govt


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SHILLONG, May 23: The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) on Tuesday threatened to go to court if the NPP-led MDA 2.0 government fails to minimise the expenditure on non-performing government agencies that have not contributed to the overall development of the state in the past five years.
HYC general secretary, Roy Kupar Synrem told reporters that Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma should take measures to minimise the unnecessary expenses of various committees, commissions, and councils with hardly any performance to show.
He said Sangma’s claim to turn Meghalaya into a $10 billion economy by 2027-28 was farcical and may be best described as a daydream when the government has been “spending left, right and centre” on the unproductive bodies. These agencies are only meant to fleece the people of the state just to serve the political interests of the NPP and its “partners in crime”, he added.
“We need legal experts to be members of the Law Commission. We need economic experts to be members of the Meghalaya Economic Development Council (MEDC). But these bodies are being made a political refuse for the MLAs who were defeated in the February elections,” Synrem said.
He said two councils constituted by the state government have spent more than Rs 4 crore without any contribution to or positive results for the state.
The HYC said the state government constituted the MEDC during 2018-2023 with a chairman, co-chairmen, and vice-chairmen who are affiliated to or are office-bearers of the political parties in power.
Citing RTI replies received from the Planning Department, the organisation said the expenses on the staff and perks and facilities provided to four appointees (who made claims to date) under the council was Rs 1.55 crore but the council did not hold even a single meeting or provide any advice, suggestion, or carry out any of its functions as mandated upon it during these five years.
The HYC also said the state government constituted the Meghalaya Resource and Employment Generation Council (MREGC) during the same period for identifying technical and non-technical skills in demand from the growth of economic activities in the state, assess investments or requirements for developing such skills, assess the prospects  for generation of employment in the state in the relevant sectors, and identify activities which may have high employment potential.
“However, in spite of spending Rs 2,87,18,941 during the period, the MREGC did not sit for any meetings or provide any advice, suggestions, or carry out any of the functions as mandated upon it but the chairman, co-chairmen, vice-chairmen and other politically-appointed non-official members have only unashamedly fleeced the state’s funds,” the HYC said.
Asking the CM to take corrective actions to minimise unnecessary expenditure, the HYC said payment of any type of remuneration should be made only after taking into consideration the contributions made by these bodies. Facilities such as house rent, electricity bills, conveyance, furnishing of houses, etc., should be stopped forthwith as these bodies are not permanent and do not even have their permanent offices, it added.
“Engagement of the staff to various appointees should also be kept in abeyance till such time the government comes up with a concrete policy on how these bodies should perform their duties,” the HYC said.
MDC earned Rs 6 lakh as planning chief for Khasi Hills
The HYC on Tuesday said former Congress MDC, Bajop Pyngrope had drawn a salary of Rs 6 lakh during his tenure as chairman of the member-less Regional Planning and Development Council (RPDC) for Khasi Hills region.
HYC general secretary, Roy Kupar Synrem referred to RTI findings and said Pyngrope received political patronage as chairman of the RPDC after joining the NPP.
Synrem said the MDC joined the NPP on March 31 last year and was appointed as chairman of the council on April 27, less than a month after shifting camp.
Interestingly, Pyngrope was appointed as chairman and enjoyed the perks but the board was never constituted since no member was appointed.
“As per the RTI document, the board did not hold even a single meeting but Pyngrope claimed Rs 6 lakh as perks before the board was de-notified prior to the 2023 Assembly elections,” Synrem said.
He also said that former GHADC CEM, Rakesh K. Sangma was named chairman of the council for Garo Hills region on May 9, 2022 after stepping down as the CEM. His appointment was de-notified on January 17, 2023 but he had not claimed any perks.
As per the RTI, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma had written to the Commissioner & Secretary of Planning Department on April 27, 2022 directing the officer to take necessary action for appointment of Bajop Pyngrope as chairman of the RPDC for Khasi Hills region and Rakesh K Sangma as chairman of RPDC for Garo Hills region with perks and facilities under category A.
Synrem questioned the NPP-led MDA Government over the need to constitute RPDB and RPDC for the Khasi and Garo Hills region when the Meghalaya State Planning Board is already in existence.

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