A day after Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that one of the reasons for removal of three retired officials of Meghalaya Lokayukta was in order to prevent extra expenditure; a social activist from Garo Hills said the contention of the chief minister “does not hold any water”.
“By citing the reason and the ground that the appointment of serving officials is to save money does the chief minister really mean what he is saying? If so, I dare him to immediately remove and terminate all those political appointees in various departments in the Government of Meghalaya,” said Kingstone Bolwari Sangma, the State working president of Human Rights and Anti Corruption Youth Power of India.
Sangma also asked the chief minister to explain to the citizens of the State about the importance of political appointees and their contribution for the growth and progress of the State.
“As per RTI information, there are about 20 to 30 political appointees in different departments only in respect of the districts in Garo Hills. It is stated that these political appointees are ex-MLAs of NPP, NPP workers and their well wishers,” he added.
Sangma also mentioned that among the political appointees from NPP in Garo Hills include Pinto G. Momin as vice chairman of Eco-development Society of Meghalaya, former MLA Abdus Saleh as co-chairman of MTDC, Lamingstone K. Marak as co-chairman of MMDC, Charming N. Sangma as co-chairman of Forest Development Corporation of Meghalaya Limited (FDCML), Willness K. Marak as vice chairman of FDCML, Dabo Marak as vice chairman of MCCL, former minister James Pangsang K. Sangma as chairman of MIDC and former MLA Satto R. Marak as co-chairman of State Government Programme Implementation and Monitoring Committee (SGPIMC).
“There are many more other political appointees in East Khasi Hills and other districts of Meghalaya. The power and functions and category of the political appointees as per the RTI information are A+ (equivalent to cabinet minister), A (equivalent to MLA) and B and C (equivalent to gazetted officers). The ex-MLAs are drawing their pension and therefore by being appointed as political appointees they are drawing double salary from the pension and from their political appointment,” Sangma said.
“The chief minister talked about saving government money by removing those Lokayukta officers but his government has sufficient funds to give monthly salaries and other government facilities to the political appointees who are equivalent to ministers, MLAs and gazetted officers. Some political appointees lack the basic educational qualification but they are receiving handsome salaries with a lot of government facilities. There are thousands of young students who are well qualified and have obtained different degrees but are living without a government job. Therefore, instead of political appointees, the government should focus on creating more jobs for highly educated youth of the State to reduce the unemployment problem,” he added.