The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has assured to generate funds to pay the pension of former MDCs.
This was informed by KHADC special counsel Vivan Kynta to the Meghalaya High Court on November 3 while hearing a writ petition filed by former MDC James Ban Basaiawmoit and others.
Kynta told the court that steps have been taken by the KHADC to address the grievances of the petitioners and the other former MDCs and that funds have been procured to afford them pension.
It may be mentioned that KHADC has in the past stated that the grant of pension to former MDCs will involve huge financial implications.
During the High Court hearing held on May 24, Kynta had stated that due to severe financial constraints, no effective decision has yet been taken by the Executive Committee of KHADC with regard to payment of pension to former MDCs.
However, B Kharwanlang, the lawyer for the petitioners voiced serious objections to the submission made by the special counsel for the KHADC and submitted that as per the RTI queries, the submission of the special counsel does not appear to be correct.
On this, the High Court noted with concern the fact that KHADC which is a constitutional authority is expressing its inability to discharge its liabilities, which have been enacted in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (Members Pension) Act, 2002.
During the High Court hearing held on July 4 Kynta told the court that steps have been taken to try to obtain funds from other sources to enable the KHADC to pay the pension of the former MDCs. He further stated this exercise will consume a considerable time.
In 2002, the then Executive Committee of KHADC had introduced the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (Members Pension) Act, 2002. The bill received assent from the Governor in 2006.
Though the bill had received Governor’s assent, the former MDCs did not receive their pension.
This forced eight former MDCs to file a writ petition in the Meghalaya High Court. In January 2009, following the instruction of the court, the KHADC had implemented the pension scheme.
However, since March 2012, the pension has been stopped and the former MDCs received only 50 per cent of the total pension amount.
Then Chief Executive Member (CEM) Titosstarwell Chyne took the initiative to again release the pending pension. The present Executive Committee led by CEM Pyniaid Sing Syiem recently took the decision to release the remaining 50 per cent of the pension scheme of all former MDCs.
At present, the former members of KHADC get only Rs 5,000 per month as pension.
It may be mentioned that the Executive Committee of the KHADC on July 25 has approved the release of pending arrears and pension for all employees of the council and former MDCs.
According to the CEM, Pyniaid Sing Syiem, an amount of Rs 6.5 crore will be incurred in releasing the pending arrears and pension.