The Meghalaya IAS Officers’ Association mounted a passionate defence of one of their own – Commissioner and Secretary Vijay Kumar D, who was recently singled out by the Trinamool Congress in its latest accusations of corruption against the Meghalaya government.
The government, through the Deputy Chief Minister, had already leapt to Kumar’s defence. Kumar and the Meghalayan Age Ltd, a state-owned company of which the IAS officer is the Chairman and Managing Director, had also defended Kumar, who is one of the most powerful civil servants in the state.
Interestingly, today’s defence, while signed by the Meghalaya IAS Officers’ Association president and secretary, was forwarded to the press by both the official Directorate of Information and Public Relations and by My Meg, which deals in the government’s public relations.
The association held an executive committee meeting today where it resolved to strongly condemn the press release by TMC national spokespersons Saket Gokhale “wherein he has alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project (MEIDP). The allegations are false and malicious with an intention to mislead the public. The Meghalayan Age Limited has already issued a clarificatory press release, whereby it has clearly and unequivocally refuted the allegations made in the above press release.”
The statement, signed by senior civil servants P Shakil Ahammed and Cyril VD Diengdoh, added that the association stands by Kumar “and all the officials concerned who have been named in the press release, with the intention to tarnish their image. The association wishes to reiterate that the job of any civil servant is to carry out the mandate and the developmental agenda of a democratically elected government, in accordance with the provision of the Constitution of India and the law of the land. Any attempt to make false allegations against government officials including IAS officers and to drag their names with a political motive, which does not serve the public interest is condemnable.”
Gokhale had alleged that tenders and Request for Proposals (RFPs) were floated for projects by Meghalayan Age and not by the state government, “which means that none of the details of the tenders are public and the process of awarding these tenders and the names of contractors who have been awarded these tenders is secret and not revealed publicly”. He also said that a majority of projects under the MEIDP are construction of roads, which technically falls under the ambit of the Public Works Department (Roads) but are instead being undertaken by Meghalayan Age, which, he also claimed, has not filed any financial reports since it was incorporated in 2020.
The officers’ association supported Kumar’s rebuttal wherein he said that “due process of law including tendering processes and prior approvals of the New Development Bank that is funding the project have been followed in implementation of the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project. This project aims to promote tourism, a very important sector for the development of the state of Meghalaya and such false allegations also tarnish the image of the state.”