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Opposition on warpath over salary
- Budget session begins

Shillong, March 18: The Opposition will raise issues like the illegal collection of money at the checkgates in Garo hills, loopholes in the public distribution system (PDS) and the delay on the part of the government to extend the Fourth Pay Commission recommendations to the deficit school teachers, during the weeklong budget session starting tomorrow.

Opposition leader Conrad Sangma today said they wanted to know what action the government had taken to end the harassment faced by truckers because of the illegal collection of money by those who man the checkgates in Garo hills.

The Meghalaya government had set a March 15 deadline to dismantle all the illegal checkgates on the national highways in the state.

However, the government is yet to make public the action taken.

Sangma said another issue to be taken up in the Assembly is the malpractice in the PDS.

He said there is largescale diversion of food grains in Garo hills, which needs immediate attention of the government.

The Opposition will also raise the issue of the plight of teachers in the deficit schools in Meghalaya — institutions run by the managing committees and charitable groups, which are entitled to the state government’s salary structure minus pension and medical incentives — as the government deprived them from getting the revised pay in accordance the Fourth Pay recommendations.

The Khasi Jaintia Deficit School Teachers’ Association and the Garo Hills Deficit School Teachers and Employees’ Association recently expressed concern over the apathy on the part of the government to extend the facilities under the Fourth Pay Commission to these schools.

The government employees and teachers started got the revised pay from September but the deficit school teachers were left out because of the “communication gap” between the education and the finance departments.

The education department still maintains that the matter is pending with the finance department for clearance.

Marriage law

Ahead of the Assembly session scheduled for tomorrow, the Shillong-based Mait Shaphrang Movement, which is pursuing the compulsory registration of marriage in the state, has asked the government to enact a separate law on the registration of marriages.

Addressing a news conference today, the chairman of Mait Shaphrang Movement, Michael Syiem, said unlike a rule framed by the government in this regard, there should be a law with ratification from the state Assembly.

According to Syiem, the state government’s stand that the already existing rule would suffice is unacceptable. “A law passed by the Assembly will have more weight in tackling the problem of broken marriages that are prevailing in Meghalaya,” Syiem said.

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