Providing a reality check to the enormity of the payments due to them, the Non-Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA) of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) has written to three state departments requesting the payment of royalties and taxes due to the council.
The three departments – Directorate of Mineral Resources (DMR), Transport and Forest and Environment, owe the GHADC Rs 55 crore, according to the NGEA, as has been evident from the affidavit submitted by the GHADC Secretary to the High Court of Meghalaya during the ongoing hearing on the pending clearance of employee salaries, of which the NGEA is the chief plaintiff.
GHADC employees have been unpaid for 26 months now, with two months’ salary cleared last month by the Council just prior to Christmas.
“We have approached the three departments requesting the release of royalty due to us (the Council) so that salaries of employees can be cleared. On September 29, the former CEM (Chief Executive Member) had also submitted a letter to all three departments to release the share of the GHADC (Rs 15 crore from the Forest Department, Rs 20 crore from Transport and another Rs 20 Crore from DMR) to meet the expenditure for payment of salaries to the employees of the GHADC,” said Senora Johnny Arengh, the President of the NGEA.
The employees, however, complained that no initiative has been taken by the departments concerned to pay their dues.
The NGEA claimed that its members celebrated both Christmas and New Year with nothing.
Meanwhile, the employees further expressed concern of being targeted by the authorities for raising the issue of their pending salaries. The Executive Committee, according to the NGEA, had tried to stifle their voices on the matter by passing a resolution on August 26 whereby strong action was sought against employees expressing unhappiness over the salary issue.
“This was done by the former EC to suppress our right. We believe we have not committed any crime against anybody and are only demanding our dues. We will not stop fighting until we get our due salaries,” added Secretary, Brithen Sangma.