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Poll code violation alleged in Garo hills

Tura, April 17: Auctions to man checkgates, held by a municipal board in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya last week, were cancelled today following allegations of violation of poll model code of conduct.

The Baghmara Municipal Board under the district had auctioned several entry point checkgates on April 11 to raise funds to pay the salaries, pending since August 2013, of its 120 employees, sources in the board said.

The auctions were scrapped today after other interested parties complained that the timing of the auctions violated the code of conduct, which is still in place.

The tender was floated on instructions from T.G. Momin, who is deputy commissioner in-charge of South Garo Hills in the absence of deputy commissioner Chinmay Gotmare.

Momin, who is also the chief executive officer of the board, had finalised the auction after accepting payments in advance. However, this was cancelled today following opposition from many parties.

Sources said while tenders can be floated, they cannot be finalised while the model code of conduct is in place.

Momin told this correspondent, “A new process will be initiated after May 16 counting.” He, however, defend his move saying that he had to consider the auction as the board was under severe financial crisis.

“We have not been able to pay salaries for the past seven months and that should not be the case for the board,” he added.

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