TURA, Sep 07: The wait for salaries for the employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) continued to get longer with employees salaries now being due for over 16 months. The over 2000 employee Council last paid its employees in the month of April for two months after which there has been nothing in the coffers for the employees.
The last salary payment was made in the month of April. The matter has come to such a head that an entire delegation of MDCs led by the CEM, Dipul Marak of the National Peoples’ Party (NPP) are camped in the capital city Shillong, in the hope that the GHADC can be bailed out from the current crisis. Interestingly, according to the CEM, the GHADC requires about Rs. 80 crores! And that is only to clear pending salary bills.
The GHADC, along with the KHADC and the JHADC is banking on the state to provide it money to care for its gargantuan dues through the expected payment of coal royalty due to the 3 Autonomous Councils.
Dipul in a meeting had apprised the CM, Conrad Sangma on the current situation while seeking some respite for all within GHADC through the state.
According to a source, the amount of money owed by the state to the 3 Councils could go over 1000 crores as the state is yet to disburse the share of the Councils since the ban on rat hole mining in the state by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The ban on coal mining began in the year 2014 and has continued till date, with there being little hope of things getting better in the short run.
The share of revenue is a part of the revenue sharing between the state and the 3 autonomous councils on major and minor minerals, one of the many such similar heads.
The GHADC has been plagued by a lack of revenue generation options as well as leakage of revenue. What has compounded the problem has been the increasing number of employees over the past few years leading to the overall increase in liabilities without any increase of income generation. Even cases of graft by employees or MDCs have been swept aside.
Further the previous EC led by the Congress had chosen to pay contractors rather than employees just prior to the dissolution of the Council and fresh elections. They even went about appointing over 200 employees into the Council, to further put stress on the frail Council resources.
In the meantime, the wait for salaries for the GHADC employees continues.