Meghalaya: RTI unearths ‘lavish’ expenditure in KHADC!

Meghalaya: RTI unearths ‘lavish’ expenditure in KHADC!

SHILLONG: The current ruling party in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), the People Democratic Forum (PDF) spent over Rs 9,88,735.85 only on flight fares to enable the CEM, EM and officers of the KHADC to frequently visit Delhi and back, in one year.

This usual trend in the state administration which mostly goes un-noticed was brought to the fore through an RTI filed by Marcus Lyngdoh of ME Production on the total expenditure incurred by the PDF ruling party in one year.

RTI revealed that the flight fare spent from the KHADC exchequer for the Chief Executive Member (CEM) Pynshngain N Syiem 4-time visit to Delhi amounts to almost Rs 1,68,203 lakh, while that of Executive Member incharge Finance Neil Antonio War, the money spent on his 9-time visit to New Delhi is Rs 2,56,212 lakh.

Meanwhile, Lamphrang Blah, Executive Member incharge Elaka spent Rs 33,444 on his one-time visit to New Delhi while Banteidor Lyngdoh (Paidang), the Executive Member incharge Labour spent over Rs 44,319  on his 2-time visit to Delhi.

Further, the RTI revealed that secretary of the executive committee of the KHADC, W Syiemlieh travelled back and forth to New Delhi almost 12 times in one year and spent over Rs 2,97,204, while RS Wanniang, Joint Secretary of the EC spent over Rs 1,59,527 on his 8-time visit to Delhi,  T. Saiborn, CFO and C. Pohlong, Planning officer spent over spent over Rs 14,652  and 14,172 for their one-time visit to New Delhi.

Other than the flight fares, the KHADC incurred over Rs 1,08,750 on travelling and food allowances for three Ems — Neil Antonio War who availed Rs 23,200, W. Syiemlieh availed Rs 68,150 and RS Wanniang availed Rs 17,400.

According to RTI findings, it was revealed that the on and off travel of the CEM, EM and officers to Delhi was part of the Forum of Councils under Sixth Schedule (FOCUSS) as it was mentioned that they had sought a meeting with the Ministry of Home and Finance to seek additional fund for the District Councils. It was also mentioned that their visit was to sought out things in line with the PIL filed before the Supreme Court and their meeting with the director of Tribal Affairs to ask for special schemes for the council besides others.

Moreover, it was revealed that the KHADC spent over Rs 2,49,561 on meetings of the Autonomous District Council (ADC) of all the North Eastern states which was held at Pinewood, Shillong on July 8, 2015, the meet which culminated in the formation of the Forum of Councils Under Sixth Schedule (FOCUSS) led by Pynshngain N Syiem, as the Chairman, who is also the CEM of KHADC.

The ruling party in the KHADC led by the congress and supported by independent MDCs, one UDP MDC and 2 former HSPDP MDCs, has touched one year on May 15, 2016 after PDF took over the executive committee from All Regional Parties Alliance ( ARPA) on May 25, 2015.

Reacting to the lavish expenditure incurred by the KHADC on the CEM, EMs and officers' frequent visit to New Delhi, HSPDP MDC Pyniaid Sing Syiem expressed disappointment over the current state of affairs in the KHADC. The Sohryngkham MDC informed that he had raised the same question in the floor of the house during the recently concluded Budget Session of the KHADC but unfortunately, no specific reply was given.

"However when the amount of money spent by the KHADC was revealed through an RTI, suspicious arises out of their (EC) inability to reply to the previous question that I had raised," Syiem said adding that there could some hidden agendas behind the EC's tight-lipped attitude on the issue.

(TNT News)

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