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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Monday, March 4, 2024

Protest shuts down Garo Hills even as new CEM announces release of pending salaries

TURA:

On a day Garo Hills was paralysed from dawn to dusk by a closure call given by pressure groups like the GSU and others seeking his ouster, new Chief Executive Member of GHADC, Rakesh A Sangma, has announced the obtaining of funds from the state for the disbursement of four months of pending salaries of the council employees.

A circular from the GHADC stated four months of pending salaries, that of October 2019 to January 2020, are being processed for disbursement within this month and all bill assistants of various departments, branches and sections of GHADC have been directed to prepare and submit the bills of its staff to the finance department at the earliest.

Speaking to The Meghalayan from Shillong where he held parlays with the finance department officials and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, CEM Rakesh A Sangma confirmed that funds have been obtained for salary payment of the employees.

“Ours is a new Executive Committee and we wanted to do something immediately after taking over and our priority has been the welfare of our employees who have pending dues. We will release four months salary dues at the earliest,” said the CEM who had rushed to Shillong shortly after winning the CEM election defeating rebel NPP leader Benedic Marak on Monday.

Thursday witnessed a near total closure of the five districts of Garo Hills after protesting groups, namely GSU, FKJGP, AYWO and FAF, announced a two day strike to oppose election of new CEM Rakesh A Sangma, and questioning his tribal status.

Barring the normal functioning of the offices of the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police in the respective districts, most offices remained closed with vehicular traffic off the roads.

Tura town had all shops and business establishments closed and there was very thin traffic on the roads.

Though no untoward incidents took place, yet, at a few places protestors blocked roads by burning tyres.

Scenes of closure were similar in Williamnagar, Baghmara, Resubelpara, Ampati and Tura towns during the 5 AM to 5 PM shutdown announcement given by the protesting groups.

‘Closure impacting students’ preparation for SSLC and HSSLC exams’

The two day strike call given across Garo Hills has impacted not just the trading community and office goers but also the student community as well.

Schools and colleges were either closed or witnessed empty classrooms.

With the Matric (SSLC) and Class 12 (HSSLC) examinations shortly taking place, students have been preparing by attending tuitions and special classes.

Sherwood School of Tura, one of the leading schools in Garo Hills which has had tremendous success in the toppers list in every successive SSLC examinations, has felt the impact of the bandh call.

“Today we had empty classrooms because of the strike. This two day strike is impacting students who need these special classes to prepare for their future. The two years of the pandemic has affected everyone, more so in a country like ours. We are just getting out of the woods and now we are facing another closure,” said Tyrone D’Brass, headmaster of Sherwood School in Tura.

He pointed out that practical examinations of the SSLC are currently taking place and such shutdowns impact the minds of the students.

“If you look at the records you will see that the SSLC results of last year had a poor showing for Garo Hills. Results were extremely bad. To have closures of schools and colleges every now and then is further adding to the poor outcome,” a worried headmaster points out.

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