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The Non-Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA) of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) has written to the Meghalaya Governor, Satya Pal Malik, stating their intentions of boycotting the upcoming elections on April 9 if the royalty share of ₹ 55 crore and the pending salaries of over 28 months is not cleared until the election.
“We submitted a memo to the Governor apprising him of the various problems of the employees and sought his intervention in the non-release of ₹ 55 crores due to the GHADC as royalty share and salaries of the GHADC employees. We also requested him to utilise the ₹ 18.2 crores sanctioned by the central government to the same effect,” said Johnny Arengh, president of the NGEA.
The NGEA further objected to the Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong’s statement of the ₹ 15 crore that he said would be recovered from the royalty share owed to the GHADC.
“We doubt the seriousness of the government in clearing our salaries as they can recover and spend an amount of ₹ 15 crore from the royalty. If they can release the royalty for elections, they should be able to do the same for the legal share of royalty owed to us,” added joint secretary, Flaming Marak.
They further added that over 25 families have lost their loved ones due to lack of funds for medical expenses because of non-payment of salaries.
The matter is still pending with the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC).
“We will boycott the upcoming elections to the GHADC and abstain from our duties if the government cannot pay the ₹ 55 crore royalty and clear our salaries,” they added.
The NGEA also demanded the removal of the GHADC secretary over allegations of the officer harassing the employees for raising salary non-payment and the diversion of funds meant for salaries.
“We are very serious about our decision and hope the government understands,” they added.
(Edited by Laxmi Chyrmang)