Employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council are set to receive only two months’ worth of their pending salaries, despite a backlog of 31 months, due to a severe funding shortage. This financial crisis has led to tensions between the disgruntled employees and the ruling NPP-led Executive Committee.
Several hundred employees have issued a threat of an indefinite strike unless their overdue payments are cleared by September 15. Unfortunately, this deadline passed without any payments being made.
On Monday, with the looming possibility of a protest within the council, the Chief Executive Member (CEM) held a meeting with the leaders of the Non-Gazetted Employees Association in his office. Later, he addressed the staff to discuss this pressing issue.
CEM Albinush Marak candidly stated, “At this moment, it is simply not feasible for the district council to settle five months of overdue salaries due to the lack of available funds. I would be dishonest if I claimed otherwise. The council has yet to receive the necessary funds.”
He assured the employees that as soon as the funds became available, their pending dues would be settled. Additionally, he announced that the council currently has enough funds to cover two months of salaries.
CEM Marak pledged, “Cheques for two months of overdue payments will be disbursed within the next few days.”
Highlighting the substantial backlog of unpaid salaries, the CEM drew a comparison, emphasising that since the NPP-led Executive Committee assumed office, they have managed to clear salaries for 30 months. However, the daunting backlog of 31 months’ worth of pending dues remains a significant challenge.
Despite the CEM’s assurances and explanations, employees reportedly remain sceptical. Sources within the employees’ association indicate that they will wait to receive their two months’ worth of dues before deciding on their next course of action to obtain their long-overdue payments.