BJP takes dig at Meghalaya ministers on coal issue

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a constituent of the National People’s Party (NPP)-led ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government in Meghalaya has yet again taken a dig at incumbent ministers.

Meghalaya state BJP vice president Bernard N Marak on November 8 stated: “In an interesting revelation, a new episode to cover up the illegal coal transportation and to get more coal out of the state without having any legal obligation is on some minister’s agenda.”

“Ministers who were involved in the rampant illegal transportation of coal have gone to such an extent that the court order passed in favour of Salgira R Marak, director of Printing and Stationery department has been overlooked but desperate attempt to amend the service book was made to remove Salgira R Marak from the post. Plan to take over the Printing and Stationery department was most probably to print ‘fake challans’ to transport coal illegally. The access to the department by these Meghalaya ministers will enable them to personalise the printing of challans at their mercy and the state government will lose huge revenue which cannot be allowed for the sake of justice,” Meghalaya state BJP vice president Bernard N Marak stated in an e-mailed statement issued on November 8.

Interestingly, Marak did not name any ministers in the statement, even as one of the two BJP legislators Alexander Laloo Hek is a cabinet minister in the Conrad Sangma-led government in Meghalaya.

“Recently, high court passed an order in favour of Salgira R Marak, director of Printing and Stationery department, quashing his appointment as the officer on special duty (OSD) but relentless effort is being made to take over the department which prints all government challans, forms, PWD cheque books etc. BJP is keeping an eye on the activities of certain ministers who are desperately trying to manipulate the system by appointing their loyal officers into the high ranked post without any legal proceedings,” the statement said, adding that Salgira R Marak has been “targeted by some ministers” for failing to comply with their dictates.

“After the disappearance of huge amounts of coal, attempts are now being made to print ‘fake challans’. Ministers are desperate to take control of the Printing and Stationery department because all the challans required for the transportation of coal are printed here,” the BJP statement said, adding that it is the “only option left” to “illegally legalise” the illegal coal transportation.

Reacting to lone Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, Saleng A Sangma’s allegation that BJP is selective in raising corruption issues, the BJP leader described allegation a standard ignorance.

“Since all central schemes are sanctioned by the BJP government with certain objectives to the general public, it is the duty of state BJP to monitor the implementation of the schemes. At present, BJP is taking up major issues which have affected the development of the state and growth of the people in general but that does not mean that we are not aware of the smaller irregularities in different constituencies,” Marak said.

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