MPA government defeats objective of downsizing ministry

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Shillong, Apr 8 (UNI) Despite the Cabinet downsizing, sitting and defeated Legislators in Meghalaya have been appointed as Chairmen and Parliamentary Secretaries, defeating the objective of trimming a ministry to curtail public exchequer.

The ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (mpa) government has strength of 32 Legislators in a 60-member Assembly but it has 35 members, holding offices in its coalition government.

Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy had appointed four Chairmen, whose status were equivalent to the Chief Minister's post, three ex-Legislators as Chairman, one Co-Chairman and Chief Minister's advisor.

Those, enjoying the CM status, were State Planning Board (SPB) Chairman Purno A Sangma, Meghalaya Economic Development Council (MEDC) Chairman J D Rymbai and State Development Reforms Commission Chairman E K Mawlong.

The other politicians, who had lost their election but were accommodated as Chairmen, Co-Chairman and Advisor to Chief Minister, were P T Sawkmie (Co-Chairman of Resource Mobilisation), P M Syiem, (Chairman, Khadi and Village Inustries), D P Iangjuh (Chairman, Meghalaya Transport Corporation), Lambor Malangiang (Meghalaya Urban Development Authority) and B G Momin (Advisor to the Chief Minister).

Altogether, there were 12 Chairmen of different boards and corporations of which three were equivalent to the post of Chief Minister and rest enjoyed the Cabinet Minister rank.

All these three senior politicians draw a salary of Rs 20,000, equivalent to the CM with other perks like house maintenance allowance of Rs 20,000, house rent Rs 10,000, conveyance allowance Rs 3000, official vehicle, Rs 1000 electricity bill, telephone both in office and residence, free medical facilities, a private secretary, a personnel assistant, maximum six casual peons, one government driver and one casual driver.

Official in the Finance Department said a total expenditure of each Chairman sttod more than a lakh in a month. However, other Chairmen not falling in the ''A'' category, like the above three, drew little less salary and perks.

The MPA has eight Parliamentary Secretaries assisting 12 Ministers, including Chief Minister and a government chief whip.

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