Shillong, Sept 16: The opposition Congress has alleged that the state government has appointed another junior officer as the new Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) after an MCS officer was replaced.
IAS officer, Arunkumar Kembhavi has replaced MCS officer, A Nikhla as the CMD of MeECL recently.
“It is (appointment) just an eye wash. The government has replaced the earlier CMD, who is a junior officer, with another junior officer, who is the additional secretary (to the government),” Congress spokesperson, Zenith Sangma told reporters on Wednesday.
“How does this (appointment of a junior officer) helps? It has convinced me to think that this is nothing but to be able to pressurize the officer to work at the behest of the people in power or the political bosses in the government…”
The Rangsakona MLA reiterated that officers not below the rank of an additional chief secretary or the chief secretary used to be appointed as the CMD of the MeECL. “Now, the government of the day has created precedence where any Tom, Dick and Harry can become a CMD.”
Sangma also expressed discontentment against the state government’s attitude towards addressing the issues related to the management of the MeECL.
He said interestingly, the present CMD is also the Director of Corporate Affairs, MeECL, Additional Secretary of Mining and Geology and Commissioner of Taxes.
“On one hand he (Kembhavi) is a very junior officer, on the other hand he is overburdened by too many responsibilities so how can it humanly be possible for him to give justice to his responsibilities,” he said.
Stating that he is not against any officer or undermining their capabilities, the Congress leader however said, “But the way the government is dealing with this issue implies that they want to make the officer work at their behest.”
He said the MeECL is in a mess due to the lack of knowledge and experience of the leadership.
Zenith further slammed the Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma for being tight-lipped on the allegations of mismanagement and corrupt practices in the MeECL.
“Even after a month’s gap, the CM has not responded to the allegations made by me and neither the power minister,” he said adding, opposition has always been constructive and is pointing out the loopholes to draw the attention of the government for rectification.
He said after the non-functioning of two machines of the Umiam HEP for the past one year leading to a revenue loss of over Rs 100 crore, was brought to light, some officers had taken up the matter to rectify the problem without incurring any expenditure and now the machines are functioning.
“Why then the management was sleeping over a year by incurring loss of Rs 10 crore every month,” he said.
Zenith said that another machine of the Leshka power project had become defective on July 21, which led to loss of Rs 25 lakh per day. Moreover, the employees of the Leshka project are also not getting salaries till date and this has never happened before, he added.
Meanwhile the Congress MLA has also demanded an inquiry into the death of MeECL lineman, Lathinson G Momin (59) who fell from a 132 KV tower while repairing the line in East Garo Hills district.
Momin was taken to Nongalbibra CHC and referred to Williamnagar civil hospital. However, he succumbed to his injuries.
According to the MLA, Momin was a resident of Thapa Darenchi in North Garo Hills, and has only one more year of service.
Sangma demanded proper inquiry into the incident and submitted a report within seven days.
The MLA also demanded special operative procedures for employees who are in direct contact with transmission lines.
“I was informed that the deceased was working under an annual management contract. The question arises how an employee of the MeECL can be used by a contractor for his work,” Sangma asked.
He said that incident has led to the delay in the restoration of the line to Tura and other areas as the deceased’s colleagues rushed to hospital along with him.