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Cry of the PAC
Apropos the news item in your esteemed daily regarding the unsound comments–made by Mr Paul Lyngdoh on the land compensation for the Umroi Airport, I would like to enlighten the readers that the according to the rules of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly the job of the Public Accounts Committee is to examine the accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by the Assembly and to examine the reports received from the Auditor & Comptroller General. The Committee has also the jurisdiction to see that the amounts have been disbursed legally and also includesexamination of the statements of accounts of the departments and state corporations.
Now, coming to the issue of disbursement of land compensation for the Umroi Airport, Mr Paul Lyngdoh the Chairman of the Committee has overstepped his jurisdiction in making a controversial statement about the beneficiaries of the land compensation under question. .Before making such statement he ought to see as to whether the Land in question was acquired as per the then Land Acquisition Act. If yes then the matter ends there. The PAC has no more business to comment further on this. If no, there is a court of law where the aggrieved parties can seek redress. Hence there is no scope for the Public Accounts Committee and for that matter anybody to make any unsound comment when there is specific provision in the then Land Acquisition Act for referring the issues to the court. Let the court decide as to who is the genuine land owner and who is not. Conflicts do arise in the
process of land acquisition but they should be decided as per law, not on political considerations.
The ISIS menace
Editor, ISIS wants to spread the infection of hatred and fear. By uttering the proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, the Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump shows that he has acquired immune deficiency hatred- AIDH from these malignant fundamentalists. This is a dangerous disease for our societybody as these cancerous cells are hell bent on making other cells malignant and causing an agonising end to our existence.
I am happy to learn that the Shillong abattoir is finally ready for inauguration ( ST Dec 22, 2015). The State Government has taken a huge gamble by availing NABARD loan of Rs 22 crore for a commercial venture where the returns may not even add up to meet the interest burden of 1.5 crore annually, not to mention the repayment of the principal amount. I have enquired about abattoirs in other parts of the country and was surprised to find that they are mostly run by private entrepreneurs and a few by Municipal Corporations and none by Veterinary Departments. Meat processing is an industry and has nothing to do with the Veterinary Department except to grant health certificate to animals brought for slaughter. It may rather be appropriate for the Industries Department to run the abattoir in collaboration with local entrepreneurs and businessmen who can run the abattoir on a commercially viable basis. I have interacted with a few officials in the Veterinary Department who confessed that they have no expertise to run the abattoir as the slaughter and processing of meat is basically an engineering operation. The recurring expenses for running and maintenance of the facility may come to over Rs 4 crore annually and it might end up becoming another white elephant for the State Government with a difficult financial situation. With the pay commission liability looming ahead the State would be advised to move for a business model rather than running the abattoir as a purely government venture. The Veterinary Department is said to be already burdened with a large numbers of loss making farms and milk plants even though they have qualified manpower in those fields. So it might be wise to think of alternatives before hurrying for inauguration as no manpower and recurring expenses seems to have been provided for the abattoir by the Department so far.
Biplab Kumar Das