Shillong, Feb 23: Amidst the agitation by the Non-Gazetted Employees of GHADC over the pending dues, District Council Affairs Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said the Garo Hills Autonomous District council should learn to sustain themselves, even as he suggests the abolition of post on retirement as a way to reduce the staff strength and thereby reducing the burden.
He also mentioned that the employees’ salaries are managed by the District Council itself.
Suggesting the abolition of posts as a better means of self-sustainability, Rymbui said, “ The JHADC has taken a lead in reforming itself and maybe other autonomous district councils also will try to reform so that they can sustain themselves. “
Elaborating further, he said, “… I must congratulate the executive committee of JHADC that they have passed a resolution in the house to abolish more than 300 post that means as and when the incumbent employee retires no more appointment against those posts so from 1900 post then they will be reduced to about 1500 or 1400 post so this is the first step so I request each and every autonomous body should follow the same example set by the JHADC.”
He also clarifies that abolition can be done on retirement, “They are not abolishing now as and when somebody retires in that particular post when they have identified in their the resolution that post will automatically become redundant, the post is no more. So this is the first step and I see if all the district council do that, it will be a major reform and the time will come that they can sustain themselves also.”
“One thing they can do is they (GHADC) have to find ways and means to sustain themselves to depend only on the state government I think it’s not possible,’ the DCA Minister added.
Asked about over 30 months of pending salaries yet to be paid, he said, “The Government is exploring all the possibilities to help this (GHADC) autonomous District council but having said that it is not very easy, it is not a matter of Rs 1 cr, Rs 2 cr, or Rs 5 cr… It is a matter of many many cr. “
Reacting to the statement made by the NGEA that there are 55 crore rupees in royalty dues of GHADC still pending with the state government, the Minister said, “I have not asked any report from the respective department of mining and Geology, Forest and environment how much is the entitlement, but based on my knowledge is that in fact the advance has been paid, but I have to verify the fact with the concerned department.”
Asked about the NGEA threatening to boycott the GHADC poll, he said, “The District Administration will take the necessary step that the election will be held smoothly”
Even as he mentions that the issue is not a new thing as it is a long pending issue “This is not a new thing, it is a long pending issue and I sympathies with the employee but we have to think about everything in a positive way ….. Even the state Government also are under financial constrain. “
Earlier, the Non-Gazetted Employees Association has rejected the claim made by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma that the NPP-led Executive committee managed to clear most of the pending salaries to the employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council.
Refuting the Chief Minister’s claim, the NGEA said, “The NGEA Highly disagreed with the claim of the Chief Minister Government of Meghalaya that NPP let government had been able cleared more salary than what was before.”
“..In this regard the executive body of NGEA state that during the Executive Committee let by Congress there was a pending salary only for 6 months whereas when the Executive Committee was formed by NPP they have completely neglected to pay the salary and after the formation of the NPP govt. in GHADC the pending salary of the employee of GHADC is for 26 months,” the Association said.