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Meghalaya High Court pull Social Welfare Dept for ‘favouring’ Kripa foundation

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Shillong, Feb 10: The Meghalaya High Court has pulled the Social Welfare department for favouring a particular private organization for setting up of a rehabilitation/de-addiction centre for juveniles.

According to an affidavit filed by the Director of Social Welfare department Dikki D Shira, the department, after scrutinizing the Detailed Project Report submitted by Kripa Foundation, has sanctioned an amount of Rs 1,03,70,093 in their favour for the purpose of setting up of a Rehabilitation/De-Addiction Centre for Juveniles at Mawkasiang, Mawdiangdiang during 2020-21.

Hearing on the matter, the division bench however said on what basis Kripa Foundation was chosen to the exclusion of others cannot be deciphered from the affidavit filed by the Director of Social Welfare department.

It also asked were other organisations ever approached or considered? Was there any transparency in the manner in which Kripa Foundation was chosen? How was Kripa Foundation selected? Was there any tendering process or did the process for selection involve mass participation? If not, why not? If public money is given in favour of one particular private organisation, how can such disbursement be justified in law in the absence of transparency in the selection process?

“Prima facie, the manner in which Serial No. 05 Regular List 2 Kripa Foundation has been favoured by the Social Welfare Department, Government of Meghalaya, smacks of blatant favouritism and oblique motives in order to help a particular private organization,” the bench said.

“If this is the manner in which public money is spent by the Government of Meghalaya, without having any semblance of transparency and the selection process being filled with opacity, it is indeed a sorry state of affairs,” it further added.

Meanwhile, the bench has directed the advocate representing the state government to provide cogent and justifiable answers to all its queries on the next date fixed on February 18.

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