Employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) under the aegis of the Non Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA) have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from December 14 over the non-clearance of 32 months of pending wages due to them.
The GHADC is currently being looked after by an Administrator after the state government refused to extend the term of the MDCs after its expiry in October.
As per the NGEA, a request had been made to the Commissioner of District Council Affairs (DCA) seeking the clearance of dues with the Rs 18 crore that was apparently in the council’s coffers. The amount was asked to be used to clear the difference with revised pay under the Fifth Pay Commission as the amount would not suffice to clear 32 months of salary dues.
“We are surprised that there has been no development on this front despite the festival season ahead. We had expectations of clearing the long standing debts, loans, fees of children, etc for the last 32 months that has been deliberately and willfully kept unpaid. We demand that these are cleared by December 11, failing which we will resort to an indefinite strike,” said a release by the NGEA members.
The NGEA further sought the transfer of the current GHADC Secretary, Rikse R Marak, from her deputation as Secretary of the GHADC citing Rule 14 of the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Council) Rules 1951 that the Secretary shall not be a member of the district council.
“The Secretary still enjoys her right of office and power illegally, superseding the legally appointed Administrator cum Commissioner of Division, Tura,” they alleged.
According to the NGEA, an amount of Rs 46.57 crore was received by the Secretary as an advance for clearing the salaries for 32 months from the government on April 3. However, its proper utilization is not mentioned anywhere else.
Furthermore, on July 24 the Secretary stated that an amount of Rs 76.83 crore was released for pay and allowances and for this the Executive Committee had to borrow Rs 35.40 crore, but this utilization has also yet to be disclosed.