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Employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) have resolved to not accept their one month salary that is being provided to them later this month in the pre-revised basis.
Expressing anguish over the decision of the GHADC, the employees have demanded the transfer of the secretary of the Council, failing which the employees have threatened to launch agitations to get their point across.
The decision to not accept the salaries in the earlier scale comes after a meeting of Council's employees on Monday, December 14, which was a deadline set by employees to the administrator of GHADC to clear their pending dues. More than 320 employees attended the meeting.
The employees had on Monday threatened indefinite strike over the clearance of their pending salaries. However, they deferred their agitation to mitigate the crisis at hand.
However, the announcement of the administrator to clear one month’s salary dues to employees albeit in the old scale has further angered them.
Miffed by the development, the Non-Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA) has refused their salaries while adding that this was like a knife to their backs.
The NGEA demanded that the employees need to be paid at least three months' salary.
“They are only paying us one month’s dues and that too, in the old scale. What are we supposed to do with this largesse? We refuse to accept the salaries being provided in the old scale despite our desperation. This is an extremely unfortunate development,” said joint secretary, Flaming Marak.
As per the employees, a revision of salaries, at par with the state’s 5th pay commission, had been made by the former secretary through letters to the employees.
“While the rest of the state was given the revision from April 2017, we were to start with the revised scale in April 2018. However, despite the promise, they still want to pay us at the earlier scale. This is unacceptable to us,” said the president of NGEA, Senora Johny Arengh.
Employees have now demanded that they want the transfer of the secretary, Rikse Marak, by December 16 from GHADC as well as their three months' pay in the revised scale, to be paid to them.
The District Council Affairs (DCA) of Meghalaya on Monday released an amount of Rs 18.2 crore meant for the GHADC that will not help in aiding the strife-laden employees in clearing their dues but for the ‘development’ of the region.
Earlier, the NGEA had appealed to the Governor to disburse the money to the employees who have close to 32 months of pending salary. They had asked the money not be given for contract work as the contractors were allegedly people related to the former MDCs and the money would be siphoned off once again.
“We were hoping that the government would understand our plight and use the money to relieve us of our suffering. We have lost trust in the government in helping us resolve our situation,” they added.
The NGEA stated that they did not mind the money being spent on developmental work but demanded that they be paid at least three months' salary from the funds within the GHADC.
If their demands are not met by December 16, the employees have stated their intent to agitate till the state government listens.
The situation for most employees is such that they have pending dues in almost all aspects of their lives, the NGEA president said.
“Shops have stopped giving us credit since we have not been able to clear our old dues. Some of us have not been able to clear our children’s education dues as a result of which even last year’s results have not been given to us. Now we have the holiday season coming and we are at our wit's end,” said one of the employees.
(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)