The UDA-led executive committee in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has decided to oppose the state government’s move to implement the tied grants of Rs 91 crore sanctioned to the autonomous district councils under the 15th Finance Commission.
KHADC chief Titosstarwell Chyne will also lead a delegation to meet Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma for requesting his intervention into the matter on Wednesday evening.
However, the opposition bench in the KHADC has threatened to take stern action if the state government fails to release the Rs 91 crore to the ADCs.
“We will be meeting the chief minister tomorrow since he has to take the final decision on the matter,” Chyne said.
Asked, the chief executive member said that the executive committee has decided to strongly oppose the recommendation of the committee for implementation of the tied funds by the public health engineering (PHE) department.
“In fact, the executive committee has not sat idle on the issue. We had taken up the issue in December last month but unfortunately, our appointment with the CM was canceled after he was tested positive for COVID-19,” he said.
“Due to this, we had only taken up the matter with the deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong and district council affairs minister Lahkmen Rymbui,” he added.
It may be mentioned here that of Rs 182 crore earmarked for the current financial year, the Centre has so far released Rs 91 crore for the three ADCs – KHADC, GHADC and JHADC – in the state. Of this, Rs 45.5 crore is for tied grants and Rs 45.5 crore is for untied grants.
Earlier today, the opposition United Democratic Forum (UDF) has demanded the state government to immediately release the central funds to the ADCs along with interest.
Speaking to media persons, chairman of the UDA, Pynshngain N Syiem said never in the history of the state has the government failed to release funds meant for the district councils.
“However, this move to implement the tied grants by the PHE without the consent of the ADCs is a clear violation of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
According to him, the guidelines clearly stated that the state has to release the funds within a period of 10 days, failing which interest will have to be paid to the ADCs.
“Therefore, we demand that the government should release the tied grants along with interest of around five-six months,” Syiem said.
The UDA chairman further threatened that the opposition would be compelled to take its next course of action against the government.
Asked, Syiem informed that the forum had also requested the KHADC chief to take action during a meeting held on January 8, who had assured the delegation that he would soon take up the matter with the state government.
On the other hand, Congress leader Ronnie V Lyngdoh said that action by the state government is an attempt to weaken the district councils in the state.