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Public hearing: KSU fires fresh salvo at Goyal

Shillong Times - Thu, 2015-04-02 05:01

SHILLONG: The pressure groups have said they do not believe the statement of the Deputy Commissioner, Sanjay Goyal that the public hearing for a group of people from Lyngkhat village under Pynursla constituency in the Deputy Commissioners’ office has been cancelled.
“We suspect that the Deputy Commissioner is trying to mislead us,” KSU employment cell chairman Lamboklang Marngar told newsmen on Wednesday.
Informing that he had personally gone to meet the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) Ms EB Suja at her chamber on Tuesday, Marngar said that she had made it very clear that the hearing would be held as scheduled as it was not possible to cancel the public hearing since everything has been finalized.
According to Marngar there is a clear indication that the Deputy Commissioner is trying to save face in the eyes of the public.
“Goyal fully understands that his decision to conduct the hearing at his office chamber is totally against the assurance given by the Government to the pressure groups. This is also the first time that the hearing is being held in the Deputy Commissioner’s office. In the past, the hearing was being held in the village itself,” he said.
Meanwhile, KSU Pynursla unit president Ennocent Khongstia said that this is the third occasion that the eight people who have been asked to appear for the hearing are trying to get themselves enrolled in the electoral rolls of Lyngkhat village.
“During the hearing conducted in the village in 2012 and 2013, the application of these eight people who originally hailed from Bangladesh was rejected since they had failed to produce the necessary documents to prove  they are genuine Indian citizens. In fact, there are many other Bangladeshis whose application was rejected during the hearing held in the village. But now it is only these eight people who have come all the way to Shillong to get themselves enrolled,” Marngar observed.
While revealing the names of the eight people who have applied for enrolment, the KSU Pynursla unit president said that the names as per the notice served by the ERO, EB Suja on March 23 includes Nintu Kuri, Rabita Kuri, Nidho Kuri, Jumpi Kuri, Anjum Kuri, Niren Kuri, Ram Prasad Kuri and Dipali Kuri.
Meanwhile, the Minister in charge of Border Area Development (BAD) Prestone Tynsong, who is also the MLA of Pynursla constituency said that he has asked the Deputy Commissioner to conduct the hearing in Lyngkhat village itself since this has always been a practice in the past.
“The process to verify the applicants should be done at the villages, not only for the areas under his Pynursla constituency but for the areas in other constituencies as well,”  Tynsong told newsmen on Tuesday.
He said that now the matter has been left to the BDO of Pynursla Block who is also the Assistant Electoral Registration Officer (AERO) to conduct the hearing adding that the AERO will fix the next date of hearing
Tynsong also feels that the process should be conducted in the villages as the village authorities know better than anybody else the antecedents of the applicants from their area who want to enrol as voters.
Meanwhile, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal has clarified that updation of the Electoral Rolls is part of the Continuous Summary Revision mandated by the Election Commission of India which includes corrections, modifications, deletions as well as inclusion of names.
Goyal said that concerns have been raised regarding the procedures adopted in taking up this exercise by various Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (AEROs) in disposal of various forms submitted in this regard.
He, however, clarified that hearing for all the forms as applied for, will be held at various locations in the blocks and rural areas in the various Assembly Constituencies in the district as done in the past.
He further said that hearings are conducted by the ERO AERO concerned who are State Government Officials performing their duties as per the relevant Acts and Rules, provisions and instructions of the Election Commission of India.
“The ERO/AERO has to satisfy himself/herself about the eligibility of the person before taking a final decision after the hearing. Booth Level Officers (BLOs) have been appointed for every Polling Booth to conduct preliminary enquiry on the spot and assist the ERO/AERO for the purpose of hearing.
He also informed that all the Political Parties have been contacted in the past and have been encouraged to appoint Booth Level Agents who can also help the EROs/AEROs in this exercise.

Categories: News

Star Ferro and Cement gets court nod for demerger

Shillong Times - Thu, 2015-04-02 05:00

New Delhi:  Star Ferro and Cement on Wednesday said the Meghalaya High Court has approved its demerger plans.
The High Court of Meghalaya has approved the Scheme of Arrangement for demerger between Star Ferro and Cement Ltd (SFCL), Shyam Century Ferrous Limited and their respective shareholders with effect from April 1, 2014, the company said in a filing to BSE.
In August last year, the company’s board approved a demerger scheme under which a new company- Shyam Century Ferrous Limited- was formed to separate the company’s ferro alloy division as part of an overall business reorganisation plan.
The ferro alloys division of SFCL constitutes the business and interests in manufacturing of ferro alloys and captive power plants.
It comprises ferro alloys and power plant at Byrnihat in Meghalaya.
The company had said, “In order to take the respective businesses to the next level of growth it is necessary to segregate and realign the businesses and interests of SFCL appropriately.”
It added the new company will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of SFCL with SFCL and its nominees holding all the 5,00,000 equity shares of Rs l each issued by Shyam Century Ferrous. “The remaining business and interests of SFCL, including manufacture of cement will continue to belong to and be managed by SFCL,” the company had said. Shares of Star Ferro and Cement Ltd on Wednesday closed at Rs 166.90 on the BSE, up by 0.42 per cent. (PTI)

Categories: News

3 M’laya dists on ‘Mission Indradhanush’ radar

Shillong Times - Thu, 2015-04-02 04:59

Guwahati:  Three districts of Meghalaya — East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills and West Garo Hills – have been categorized as ‘focus districts’ under the Central Government’s ambitious ‘Mission Indradhanush’.
‘Mission Indradhanush’, which was launched on December 25, 2014, aims to immunize all children against seven vaccine preventable diseases namely diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B by 2020.
Informing this during a  regional  media sensitization workshop for ‘Mission Indradhanush’ in Guwahati on Wednesday, the Director of  Regional Resource Centre for North East, Dr AC Baishya said that altogether 201 districts in the country have been identified as high focus areas.
While asserting that infant mortality rate is low in the region, he, however, rued that the coverage of immunization was not growing in the region “which is a matter of concern”.
According to Dr Baishya, the objective of the mission is to cover the uncovered area and get all children under the age of 2 years and pregnant mothers immunized.
While presenting an overview of the  Mission,  Dr A Deka from World Health Organisation  stressed that the speed, policy and approach of the North East region has to be changed for  immuniziation of children in uncovered areas even as he said that the next year the mission would concentrate on medium focus areas of the country.
Under the mission, the Union Government aims to increase the coverage of immuniziation from the present 65 per cent to 90 percent.
Under the scheme, the Anganwadi and Asha workers will conduct a survey in the targeted areas and identify the beneficiaries for the immunization, adding the mission will be monitored by independent agencies of    World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)  besides the Chief Secretaries of the respective states.
In the year between 2009-2013 immunization coverage has increased from 61% to 65%, indicating only 1% increase in coverage every year.
To accelerate the process of immunization by covering 5% and more children every year, the Mission Mode has been adopted to achieve target of full coverage by 2020.

Categories: News

GHADC job scam: EC cancels already declared result

Shillong Times - Thu, 2015-04-02 04:58

TURA: The illegal functioning of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) has once again come to light with the opposition NPP revealing the unlawful action of the current Executive Committee with regard to the conduct of an interview and the subsequent declaration of results.
According to opposition MDCs an interview for various posts under Forest, Taxation and Civil Works departments was conducted recently the results for which were also declared and pasted on notice boards of the concerned departments.
However, the notices were taken down some time later and cancelled with no explanation being given to the affected candidates depriving them of their appointments.
The irresponsible act of the EC has resulted in many losing out on an opportunity for employment not to mention thousands of others who had to bear travel and other expenses including inconvenience faced.
When contacted Rochonpara MDC Dipul R Marak strongly condemned the act and demanded that a clarification is given on why the already declared result was suddenly cancelled.
“The EC needs to immediately clarify on the matter. How can they play with the future of the youths who come hoping for employment from far and near,” he said.
Nogorpara MDC Boston Ch Marak also echoed his colleague and demanded that compensation is given to the affected candidates whether a clarification is given or not.
Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that this is not the first time that such a thing has happened in the GHADC. Earlier in the past the EC had cancelled the already declared result to an interview merely because names of some of their candidates did not figure in the list of successful candidates.

Categories: News

‘Individual gets authority to sell Raid land to MUDA’

Shillong Times - Thu, 2015-04-02 04:57
Ex-chief of Tynring village sacked for involvement in illegal land deal

SHILLONG: Sohryngkham MDC Pyniaid Sing Syiem (HSPDP) has questioned and raised objections to the decision taken by a section of members of the previous Executive Committee of the Dorbar of Shnat Raid Tynring to give the power of attorney to an individual for selling the Raid (community) land.
According to the MDC, the letter mentioning the power of attorney given to one Marshall Nongrum – a member of the Executive Committee of the Dorbar – had even been submitted to East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal in 2012.
The letter submitted to the Deputy Commissioner which was signed by at least nine members of the previous Executive Committee of the Dorbar led by former Sordar C.A. Diengdoh, stated that they had had given the power of attorney to Marshall Nongrum for selling 1000 acres of Raid land to the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA).
Interestingly, the said letter specifically mentioned that the money should be deposited in Nongrum’s personal account, the MDC claimed.
“The money should have been deposited in the account of the Dorbar since it was Raid land which was being acquired by the Government,” the MDC said, while claiming that the Dorbar and the villagers were completely unaware of the authority given to Nongrum to sell the community land.
“This matter came to light only after some members of the village filed an RTI,” Syiem said.
Meanwhile, the women and youth organizations of Tynring village have hailed the decision of the KHADC Executive Committee to suspend the Sordar of the village C.A. Diengdoh for attempting to sell over 1000 acres of community land to the State government without the consent of the Dorbar.
According to them, the former Sordar was removed by the KHADC on March 26 following a petition filed against him for misuse of power and failure to convene the Dorbar meeting for more than four years.
“We staged protests against the proposed move of the Sordar to illegally sell the community land measuring over 1000 acres to the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority,” president of the village Seng Longkmie, P. Kharmukhi, told reporters at a news conference here on Wednesday.
Incidentally, a section of the villagers who were supporting Diengdoh, had staged a protest against the decision of the KHADC to remove him and had alleged that the acting Sordar appointed in his place was conniving with the local MDC (Syiem) and trying to sell the Raid land measuring around 80 acres.
Meanwhile, the Sohryngkham MDC maintained  that he would continue to protest against any proposed move by the State government to acquire the community land.
Syiem also rubbished allegations leveled by a section of residents of Tynring village that he was involved in an illegal move to sell 80 acres of Raid land to the MUDA and also denied having any hand in the removal of C.A. Diengdoh as the Sordar of the village.
It may be mentioned here that MUDA has been trying to acquire land at Tynring village for expansion of the New Shillong Township project.

Categories: News

Rejected applicants asked to appear before hearing for voters’ enrollment

Meghalaya Times - Thu, 2015-04-02 04:04

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, April 01: Eight non-indigenous persons were allegedly issued notice by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of East Khasi Hills (EKH) district, Sanjay Goyal to appear before the hearing for voter’s enrollment fixed on Thursday, despite their applications for the same being rejected twice in recent years.
This allegation was made by the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) at a news conference held on Wednesday, even as the NGO maintained that the proposed protest march to the DC’s office by the three NGOs still stands.

Categories: News

Goyal clarifies on summary revision of electoral roll

Meghalaya Times - Thu, 2015-04-02 04:04

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, April 01: East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, Sanjay Goyal on Wednesday clarified that hearing for all the forms as applied for, will be held at various locations in the blocks and rural areas in the various Assembly Constituencies in the district as done in the past.
“It is hereby clarified that hearing for all the forms as applied for, will be held at various locations in the blocks and rural areas in the various Assembly Constituencies in the district as done in the past,” he said in a press statement issued here on Wednesday evening.

Categories: News

BSF convoy carrying mortal remains of slain trooper attacked

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2015-04-01 04:11

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG/TURA, March 31: Three men of Border Security Force (BSF) were injured on Tuesday after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted on the road which they were coming through went off. The incident happened at about 1 pm on Tuesday afternoon, near the village of Kherapara in West Garo Hills (WGH), while the men were transporting the mortal remains of BSF trooper from Dumnikura in South Garo Hills (SGH) to the town of Tura.

Categories: News

Police heroically rescue abducted businessman

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2015-04-01 04:11

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG/TURA, March 31: In yet another heroics by Meghalaya Police, a businessman who was abducted for ransom by unidentified criminals on Monday night was rescued on Tuesday by police in East Garo Hills (EGH) district.
Ajit Kunda, a businessman from Williamnagar Bazar, was coming home after closing his shop in Williamnagar bazar when four criminals waylaid and forced him into an Alto car. They also snatched his bag containing Rs. 70,000 before forcing him into an Alto car and driving off. The young son of the trader was left behind unharmed.

Categories: News

NGOs demand removal of EKH DC, threaten to agitate

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2015-04-01 04:10

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, March 31: Three prominent NGOs of the state on Tuesday vowed to protest the move to continue holding of hearing and verification drive for voters in the Deputy Commissioner’s office in the city slated on April 2 and have sought the removal of the Deputy Commissioner (DC), East Khasi Hills (EKH) district, Sanjay Goyal in this regard.
The NGOs comprising if Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) and Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) have sought the immediate removal of Goyal after alleging that he has violated the government’s directive on the issue.
Suspecting ‘conspiracy’ and ‘hidden agenda’ behind the actions of the DC, they blamed him of enrolling people especially those who don’t have valid documents.

Categories: News

17 dead in Kashmir floods

Meghalaya Times - Tue, 2015-03-31 04:11

Srinagar, March 30 (IANS): Up to 16 people were killed on Monday as a devastating flood in the Kashmir Valley forced thousands to flee to safer places as rain-fed streams rushed down the mountains, flooding parts of Srinagar. A man was washed away by a swollen river in Jammu region.
As the water level in the Jhelum river rose menacingly, a high alert was sounded in the region. Fearing a repeat of the terrible September 2014 floods that killed over 200 people, entire families deserted their homes in low-lying areas.

Categories: News

EKHLTWA flags bribery in Sales Tax Office

Meghalaya Times - Tue, 2015-03-31 04:10

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, March 30: The East Khasi Hills Local Taxi Welfare Association (EKHLTWA) on Monday alleged that the employees of the Sales Tax office are indulging in taking ‘tips’ – an euphemism for bribes to issue No Objection Certificates (NOCs).
The prevalence of this practice was flagged by the leaders of the EKHLTWA after one of its members was denied an NOC for the past one year despite going through the procedure of paying a challan for the NOC.

Categories: News

Yadav, Bhushan sacked from AAP panel, may take legal recourse

Meghalaya Times - Sun, 2015-03-29 04:00

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS): Less than two months after it stormed to power in the national capital, the AAP virtually split on Saturday after it expelled four dissident leaders, including Prashant Bushan and Yogendra Yadav, from its National Executive in a stormy meet marred by chaos and protests.
The duo, who are the founding members of country's youngest political party, reiterated that AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was a "dictator" and said they would approach the court against the "illegal" decision taken at the party's national council meeting.

Categories: News

Easter respite for Ampati, GNLA to resume bandh immediately after

Meghalaya Times - Sun, 2015-03-29 04:00

Staff Reporter
TURA, March 28: In view of the upcoming Easter holidays, the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) has called off the ongoing bandh in Ampati from April 2 to 6, 2015. The outfit however stated that the bandh would thereafter continue till the demands of the outfit were heard by the government.
In a press communiqué issued on Saturday, the joint publicity secretary of the outfit, Garo Mandei Ch Marak stated, “We thank the general public for their co-operation during our bandh call on Thursday and Friday. We understood that the public too want real justice, so they have overwhelmingly supported us”.

Categories: News

PM Modi condoles Kyndiah’s death; three-day state mourning declared

Shillong Times - Sat, 2015-03-28 10:52

Relatives and well wishers throng the residence of P.R. Kyndiah to pay their
last respects to the departed leader, on Friday. (ST)

NEWDELHI/ SHILLONG: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed grief at the death of former Union Minister P.R. Kyndiah and extended his condolences to the bereaved family.
The prime minister described late Kyndiah as a popular leader who worked tirelessly for Meghalaya and the Northeast.
Meanwhile, the Meghalaya government has declared state mourning for three days from Friday as a mark of respect to late Kyndiah.
“During the period of state mourning there will be no official entertainment and the national flag will be flown at half mast at all government establishments throughout the state. A state funeral will be held on March 29,” the under secretary, General Administration Department, informed on Friday.
The Mizoram government has also announced a three-day state mourning in honour of late Kyndiah who was a former governor of the state and Brig. T. Sailo, ex-chief minister of the state who passed away on Friday morning.
The two Congress MPs from the state – Vincent H Pala and Wansuk Syiem – condoled the demise of the veteran Congress leader and former union minister.
In a condolence message, Pala said that the void that Kyndiah has left in Meghalaya can never be filled. He recalled the veteran’s relentless fight for tribal rights and formation of Meghalaya as a separate state.
The Rajya Sabha member recalled that Kyndiah had served in many top positions both within the state and outside during his long innings in politics. “His services to the people and contributions to the state can never be forgotten,” she said in a statement.
Meghalaya Assembly Speaker A.T. Mondal expressed shock and sorrow over the sudden demise of Kyndiah.
In a condolence message to the bereaved family, the Speaker said that Meghalaya and the country have been enriched with the contributions that Kyndiah had made for the interest of the people.
“In his passing away, the state has lost a great leader,” the Speaker said, while offering his condolence on behalf of all the legislators, officers and staff of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
The State NPP also offered condolences to the family members of late Kyndiah.
“We are deeply saddened by his demise which is a great loss for Meghalaya. Late Kyndiah was and always will be one of the tallest leaders Meghalaya has ever produced. We wish to convey our heartfelt prayers for the bereaved family,” NPP spokesperson and legislator James Sangma said in a statement.
The Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee held a condolence meeting on Friday and expressed profound grief and sorrow at the sudden demise of its senior party leader.
The meeting, while paying glorious tributes to late Kyndiah, recalled how he as one of the veteran leaders of the Hill State Movement had contributed to the creation of Meghalaya.
Former Chief Minister S.C. Marak, Home Minister
Roshan Warjri and other party leaders including A.H. Scott Lyngdoh and John F. Kharshiing, observed that the vacuum caused due to his sudden demise would be difficult to fill.
MPCC president D.D. Lapang recalled his personal association with late Kyndiah and placed on record his various contributions not only in the socio-political scenario but also his contributions as a prolific writer.
The meeting also observed two minutes of silence and prayed to the Almighty for eternal peace of the departed soul. The MPCC further expressed condolences to the bereaved family.

Categories: News

PR Kyndiah: The voice of AIR Shillong

Shillong Times - Sat, 2015-03-28 10:50

SHILLONG: From a non-descript beginning to occupying one of the country’s highest constitutional posts, late Paty Ripple Kyndiah’s life can aptly be described as a roller-coaster journey.
Late Kyndiah began his career as the first newsreader and compère of AIR Shillong after its establishment in 1948 and continued with it for over a decade. During this period, he initiated steps to revive folk music of the local tribes which eventually took the form of a renaissance of folk dances and folk culture.
His voice was a symbol of ‘breaking news’ during undivided Assam, but in a sad turn of events, he was ignored when the commemoration programme of 60 years of broadcasting in the Northeast was organized by All India Radio, Shillong, in July, 2009.
Kyndiah, in an interview to this reporter in 2009, had recalled that way back in July, 1948,   he was appointed on a contractual basis as a first compère of AIR, Shillong, which was part of Shillong-Guwahati Station.
“My duty was to be a news reader in both Khasi and Jaintia languages and also to compère programmes of talks on different topics and also on music both vocal and instrumental,” Kyndiah had said.
Kyndiah was initially paid a modest sum of Rs.60 per month which was later hiked to Rs.120 per month.
“I was not drawn to the job merely for monetary consideration but it coincided with my mission in life,” Kyndiah had said.
Kyndiah left the job in 1962 after he was elected as member of the Shillong Civic Body.
“If my memory serves me right, I used to receive Rs.180 per month before I resigned from my job and on my resignation I was paid a few thousand rupees as gratuity,” he had said.
The former union minister’s association with AIR Shillong for almost 14 years had brought him in contact with a number of talented music composers and artists of excellence, prominent among them being late
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika who joined AIR Shillong as a programme assistant in the 1950s.
“Dr. Hazarika had just returned from a University in USA and loved to sing Old Man River, a Negro spiritual song made famous by Paul Robeson, a great black singer of that time,” Kyndiah fondly recalled.
Kyndiah had also made efforts to ensure that musical talents were persuaded to come to AIR Shillong for both broadcasting and recording. However, this was not an easy task to do.
When the people of the region commemorated 60 years of broadcasting in the North East in 2009, and Kyndiah was ignored, he only had words of encouragement for AIR: “As AIR is still a powerful weapon in mass communication it has to induct fresh ideas and innovative programmes designed to catch the attention of the listeners in the context of challenges from the FM channels.”
As Union Tribal Affairs Minister, late Kyndiah was instrumental in the passing of the historic law passed by the Parliament – the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Reorganization of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
The act aimed at empowering the Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers rights over land in their occupation was the result of his strenuous efforts when he successfully piloted the relevant bill in the Parliament.
The legislation was the first of its kind in Independent India and removed the extreme hardships faced by the Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers caused by absence of legal rights over the land they occupy.
Despite pulls and counter pulls he was able to influence the union government in 1995 to decide in favour of Shillong as a centre for setting up of an IIM for North East India.
Kyndiah’s efforts drew praise from several leaders of the region including former Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang.
During tenure as Member of Parliament, he took up indefatigably various steps through relevant Parliamentary Committees and other forums to contribute in bringing about the establishment of NEIGRIHMS.
As a veteran social worker, he was involved in many social and cultural organizations. It is significant that at the Republic Day Folk Dance Festival in 1956, the Jaintia Laho Folk Dance led by Kyndiah bagged the coveted prize presented by former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi.
It was the first time that any folk dance of the region had received national recognition.

Categories: News

SC notice on hike in SC/ST seats in legislatures

Shillong Times - Sat, 2015-03-28 10:50

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the central and the state governments on a PIL seeking increase in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes’ representation in Parliament and state assemblies in proportion to their increased population across the country.
A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra issued notice after senior counsel Kiran Suri told the court that since 2002 to 2011, 529 new categories have been added to the list of the SC/ST and that alone has bolstered by another five crore the SC/ST population entitled to reservation.
Petitioner Puran Singh, a former Indian Foreign Service officer, has contended that despite increase in the SC/ST population on account of the addition of more categories, there was no proportionate increase in the SC/ST seats in parliament and state legislatures.
Besides proportionate reservation for SC/ST in parliament and state legislatures, he sought specific direction for “appropriate” reservation for the SCs in the Punjab assembly in the coming elections.
Assisted by advocate Deepak Anand, Puran Singh invoked the Constitution’s Article 330 which provides for reservation of seats for the SCs and the STs in the Lok Sabha and Article 332 that provides for reservation of seats for them in legislative assemblies.
Both provisions say that allocation of reserved seats for the SCs/STs would be in the “same proportion to the total number of seats in the assembly as the population of the SCs in the state”.
The petitioner contended that on account of the SC and ST Orders (Amendment) Act, 2002 and 2007, several new categories were included in the SCs list, resulting in “considerable increase” in their population entitled to reservation.
However, both the centre and the Election Commission have not carried out their consequential obligations to reflect the change and grant proportional representation to the SCs under Articles 330, 332 and 243D of the Constitution, the PIL said. (IANS)

Categories: News

SC to hear Manmohan’s plea on April 1

Shillong Times - Sat, 2015-03-28 10:49

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will take up for hearing on April 1 former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s petition challenging his summoning by the special court in connection with the allocation of a part of Talabira II coal block to Kumarmangalam Birla owned Hindalco.
On being asked when they were going to mention the plea for an early hearing, a senior counsel who will appear for Manmohan Singh on Friday said there is no need to mention as petition is listed for hearing on April 1. (IANS)

Categories: News

Prez confers Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee

Shillong Times - Sat, 2015-03-28 10:49

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was on Friday conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, by President Pranab Mukherjee in a brief ceremony at his home here attended by the country’s leadership.
The president, in a break from protocol, arrived at Vajpayee’s 6, Krishna Menon Marg residence here to confer the top honour on the nonagenarian BJP leader who has been keeping poor health. (IANS)

Categories: News

Meghalaya Govt errs on tax collection, loses over Rs 598 crore: CAG report

Shillong Times - Sat, 2015-03-28 10:49

SHILLONG: Though the state government has blamed the NGT ban on coal mining for the loss of over Rs.600 crore revenue resulting in the current financial crunch in Meghalaya, the CAG report for 2014 revealed that the state government could have saved Rs.598.25 crore in 2013-14 in terms of realization of taxes had it taken more pro-active steps.
To a query in this regard, the Accountant General (Audit) Meghalaya, Rajesh Singh, admitted that proper measures should have been adopted to check revenue loss in 2013-14 which would have been helpful to tide over the present financial crisis.
As per the CAG report, test check of the records of taxes on sale, trade, state excise, motor vehicles, forest receipts and other non-tax receipts conducted during the year 2013-14 revealed under assessments/ short/ non-levy/ loss of revenue amounting to Rs.598.25 crore in 283 cases.
“During the year, the departments accepted under assessment/ short/ non levy/ loss of revenue of Rs.439.19 crore in 213 cases in 2013-14 and recovered only Rs.0.34 crore,” the report added.
State’s financial health poor due to over dependence
on borrowings, claims national auditor
There is concern over Meghalaya Government’s reliance on borrowed funds which has resulted in increasing fiscal liabilities of the state over the period 2009-14.
According to the findings of the CAG report for 2014, the prevalence of fiscal deficit during 2009-14 indicates “continued reliance of the state on borrowed funds, resulting in increasing fiscal liabilities over the period 2009-14, which increased by 26.28 per cent during 2013-14 compared to previous year.”
The fiscal liabilities during 2013-14 stood at 29.79 per cent of the GSDP during the current year against 27.13 per cent during 2012-13 and also exceeded the limit of total outstanding liabilities-GSDP ratio projected in Medium Term Fiscal (MTF) Plan (26.53 per cent) for the year.
Briefing reporters and highlighting various aspects of the CAG report for the year ended March 31, 2014, Accountant General (Audit) Meghalaya, Rajesh Singh, said on Friday that the average return on Meghalaya Government’s investments in statutory corporations, government companies and co-operative societies  was less than one per cent during 2009-14, whereas the government paid interest at an average rate of 6.22 to 6.61 per cent on its borrowings during the period.
Though there was an indication of improvement in the financial health of the state during 2013-14 compared to previous year, the substantial amount of fiscal liabilities accompanied by a negligible rate of return on government investments and inadequate interest cost recovery on loans and advances might lead to an unsustainable fiscal situation in medium to long term, unless suitable measures are initiated to compress the non-plan revenue expenditure and to mobilize additional resources both through the tax and non-tax sources in the ensuing years, the CAG report said.
According to the CAG, the state should make efforts to maintain revenue surplus and reduce fiscal deficit.
Recourse to borrowed funds in future should be carefully assessed and managed so that the Fiscal Liabilities-ratio can be restricted to the projection made in the Medium Term Fiscal (MTF) Plan.
The state government should also ensure better value for money in investments by identifying the companies/corporations which are endowed with low financial but high socio-economic returns and justify the use of high cost borrowed funds for non-revenue generating investments through clear and transparent guideline, the CAG observed, while it also suggested that the state government should also explore the possibility of the closure of perennially sick public sector undertakings.

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