The Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in the state are not new to controversies. They have weathered the accusations and allegations of corruption over the years and the members who run the affairs of the councils have come out unscathed personally as life carries on for them and for the people whom they are to serve. But the ADCs have been sucked dry and the employees along with the public are suffering.
The latest volley of allegations has however been lobbed, not by the media or activists or social organizations as is the normal routine, but by the State president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ruling party at the centre and a member of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MFA), a coalition of parties ruling the state with the BJP being a lynchpin of the multiple partnership, even though it has only two Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA).
The State BJP accused the three councils, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) the Jaiñtia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) and the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) of huge corruption and siphoning off of funds allotted to them for development works to pay the salaries of the employees and make payments to contractors for various jobs, which, according to them have been distributed without calling for tenders. The BJP has gone further to demand a CBI inquiry into these alleged misappropriations.
While, accusations such as these have become routine, in this case it takes a curious and significant color because the three ADCs are led by executive members of the National People’s Alliance (NPP), the main alliance partner of the BJP which is ruling the state as the MDA platform under the leadership of chief minister Conrad K Sangma, who is the president of the NPP.
There being no response whatsoever from the NPP officially about this latest development, it was left to the new member of the Rajya Sabha to downplay the charges made by the president of the BJP attributing it to nothing but inexperience and immaturity of picking on subjects in public which should have been rather brought before the MDA’s coordinating committee.
The public display has however, once again revealed that the ADCs are crumbling under decades of neglect, and the tendency and propensity of every new crop of leaders to take their pound of flesh while leaving the councils to flounder along. The latest list of scams pulled out in public, may or may not be proved eventually, but as experience goes, there will be no investigation, which means that there will be no fixing of responsibility for the alleged misappropriations, which are the only course of action for fixing the rot in the councils. The people have seen these dramas for decades and cynical distrust and cold disinterest is all that one can find among the public. Unless the BJP follows up the issue of corruption it has raised to its very end, no one will be blamed for thinking that this is, once again, just another posturing for the gallery by lame politicians.