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HYC questions need for regional planning boards

The HYC also questioned the government’s decision to appoint members of the district council (MDCs) to head the RPDB since the posts in the past were being held by cabinet ministers. It also asked how legislators and ministers will attend meetings called by such bodies headed by MDCs while taking the protocol into consideration.

SHILLONG:

The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) on Tuesday questioned the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government’s decision to constitute the Regional Planning and Development Board (RPDB) for the Khasi Hills and Garo Hills region of the state.

“When the state already has the Meghalaya State Planning Board (MSPB), what is the need to form another planning board for Khasi and Garo Hills region. The MSPB has around 10-15 members who are non-official and who are affiliated with one party or another supporting the government. We find that this (constituting the RPDB) too is a complete wastage of public money,” HYC general secretary Roykupar Synrem told reporters.

The HYC also questioned the government’s decision to appoint members of the district council (MDCs) to head the RPDB since the posts in the past were being held by cabinet ministers. It also asked how legislators and ministers will attend meetings called by such bodies headed by MDCs while taking the protocol into consideration.

Synrem said that Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had written to the Commissioner & Secretary in charge Planning department on April 27, 2022, directing the officer to take necessary action for the appointment of MDC Bajop Pyngrope as chairman of the RPDB for the Khasi Hills region and MDC Rakesh K Sangma as chairman of RPDB for Garo Hills region with perks and facilities under the category-A.

He said in 2004, the government under the chief ministership of DD Lapang had also constituted the RPDB for the two regions.

“However, the difference between the action of Conrad K Sangma and of DD Lapang is that during the term of the latter, the RPDB for these two regions was headed by cabinet ministers. RPDB for Khasi Hills was headed by Dr Donkupar Roy as deputy chief minister at that point of time and for Garo Hills by Dr Mukul Sangma, who was cabinet minister,” Synrem said.

“But as per a document from the planning department, Bajop Pyngrope, who is an MDC right after he joined the NPP on March 31, 2022, and on April 27, 2022, he was appointed as chairman of the RPDB but without constituting a council or a board. There was no member appointed, there was no meeting held, there was no advice given but he was appointed as chairman,” he said adding “Also, same with Rakesh K Sangma, we all know the controversies surrounding him when he was made to step down as the CEM of GHADC then in order to appease him, he was given the role of the chairman of the RPDB.”

The HYC leader further alleged that an amount of Rs 6 lakh was claimed by Bajop Pyngrope during the period of one year before the RPDB was denotified prior to the 2023 Assembly elections in the state. However, Rakesh K Sangma is yet to make any claims as per the document.

“Moreover in 2004, when the chief minister appointed this RPDB there was nothing written that the chairman should get any perks or remuneration because he was a chairman because he was a cabinet minister. So it makes sense. But now, we see that all these appointments are being made only to appease someone and only to serve the political interest of the people who are in power and only to make a particular party or person but at the end of the day who will bear these expenses it is the common man. The government is paying all these people without any contribution to the state,” he said while demanding the government to stop making such appointments which hurt the finances of the state.

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