The Voice of the People’s Party (VPP) has cast doubt on the assurance of Taxation Minister James Sangma that the State government would repeal the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021.
In a statement issued today, VPP vice president Dr. Kara H. Chen said that a special session of the Assembly has to be convened specifically to repeal the gambling law instead of repealing it merely through ordinance.
“One wonders the real intention of this government. If the announcement is well intended a special session of the Assembly has to be convened specifically to repeal the Act. But this entails unnecessary and wasteful spending of public money which this government could have easily avoided had they been competent, prudent and sagacious enough in making public policy,” the VPP said.
The party also said that the repealing of the Gaming Act, 2021 through the ordinance route would be “nothing but eyewash”.
“This amounts to fooling the people of the State as unless approved by the Assembly within six months the ordinance would cease to operate thereby the Gaming Act stand revived and re-operationalised,” the VPP added.
The VPP also said that in order to avoid the messy situation such as this, the people of the State should be conscious and responsible in electing the representatives in the coming Assembly elections.
“Another mistake in 2023 will further push the State down towards the nadir of development and progress from which it would be extremely difficult to revive and restore the State,” the party said.
It may be mentioned that Taxation Minister James Sangma yesterday assured that the State government would repeal the Gaming Act in the best interest of the State and its people.
“Following meetings with stakeholders, it became clear to me that it is in the best interest of our State to completely scrap the Act. Therefore, it will be my earnest endeavour to see that the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021, will be repealed,” Sangma said in a tweet.
The minister said over the months that followed, there were concerns expressed from parts of the society with regards to the scope and impact of the Gaming Act.
“I met with stakeholders that included religious organisations, non-governmental organisations, civil society representations, Dorbar Shnongs, autonomous and local governance bodies and youth organisations. During this process, I tried to understand the concerns of the public and the impact that the Act could have further on,” Sangma said.
Assuring that he would see that the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021 is repealed, Sangma thanked everyone who came forward to aid, advise and provide feedback to the government on the Act.