The NPP-led government during the period from 2018 to 2023 has wasted an amount of Rs 4.42 crore on two councils which were constituted without any productive contribution towards the State.
The Meghalaya Economic Development Council (MEDC) was constituted with a Chairman along with Co-Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen who are affiliated or office bearers of the political parties in power.
Some of the important functions of MEDC are to advise the State government on issues relating to or touching upon the industrial and economic policies, identify sectors where overall economic and industrial growth can be created and accelerated, and to suggest ways for attracting investments, local and foreign, in the State.
However, as per RTI replies obtained by the HYC from the Planning Department, the expenses towards the staff and other perks and facilities provided to four appointees of MEDC till date is Rs 1,55,02,266.
The HYC alleged that the MEDC did not sit even for a single meeting or provided any advice, suggestions or carry out any of its functions as mandated upon it during this period of five years.
“The Chairman, Co-chairman and Vice-Chairman have only drawn the funds from the State’s coffers without any productive contribution towards the State and the people in general,” the HYC said.
Another body constituted by the NPP-led government in the period from 2018 till 2023 is the Meghalaya Resource and Employment Generation Council (MREGC).
The objectives of MREGC is to identify skills in demand from growth of economic activities in the State both in technical and non-technical spheres, to assess investments and requirements for developing such skills among the people, to assess prospects for generation of employment in the State in the relevant sectors and identify activities which may have high employment potential besides others functions.
However, in spite of spending Rs 2,87,18,941 during the period from 2018 till 2023, the MREGC did not sit for any meetings or provided any advice, suggestions or carried out any of the functions as mandated upon it.
“The Chairman, Co-Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and other non-official political appointee members have only unashamedly fleeced the State’s funds,” the HYC said.
According to the HYC, an amount of Rs 4,42,21,207 was spent on these two councils constituted by the government without any contribution or positive results “but has only made us poorer as the State”.
“These two Councils are under the Planning Department, Government of Meghalaya which we have information for now but there are some more under the different departments which are yet to get specific information but we are sure they are also unproductive and have only fleeced us the people in the last five years,” the HYC said.
Urging the Chief Minister to take corrective actions to minimise the unnecessary expenses on these types of Committees, Commissions, Councils, etc which does not provide any productive contributions to the government or the State as a whole, the HYC said, “Payment of any types of remuneration should be given only after taking into consideration of the contribution made by these bodies and the practice of providing facilities like house rent, electricity bills, conveyance, furnishing of house, etc should be stopped forthwith as these bodies are not permanent and do not even have their permanent offices. Engagement of staff to various appointees should also be kept in abeyance till such time the government comes up with a concrete policy on the working of these bodies.”
The HYC also said that it will write to the Chief Minister in the coming days with demands and suggestions. “If the Chief Minister or the government does not take necessary steps, then we will be forced to take recourse to legal remedies to take actions against the government for wastage of public money,” it added.
According to the HYC, the claim of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma that the State government intends to turn Meghalaya into a 10 billion dollars economy by 2027-28 while presenting the Budget for 2023-24 is nothing but a farcical statement.
“The State with a fiscal deficit budget of Rs 1592 crore is day dreaming of becoming a Rs 80,000 crore economy in the next five years. More so, when it is spending left, right and centre on a horde of committees, commissions or councils which are unproductive but only fleecing the citizens of the State just to serve the political interest of the NPP and its partners in crime,” the HYC alleged.
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