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Mukul defends work culture

Shillong, July 25: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, who has been dubbed an “absentee chief minister,” today defended poor work culture saying he has been investing the best possible time in governance and one does not need to function only from within the four walls of the secretariat.

“We have been investing the best possible time on governance. Now the bureaucracy also works till 9pm,” the chief minister said, while defending his long absence from the secretariat.

On July 23, Opposition Independent legislator from Gambegre constituency, Saleng A. Sangma, had lodged a complaint with governor K.K. Paul on the alleged “nonchalant attitude” of the chief minister and termed him an “absentee chief minister”.

Taking a jibe at Saleng, the chief minister said, “I am happy that somebody is raising this issue, otherwise the people might even forget their existence. These things are expected in a democracy,” he said.

According to Saleng, ever since Mukul took over as the chief minister in April 2010, it was observed that the chief minister’s office has been one of the least functioning offices in Meghalaya, courtesy the regular absence of the occupant of the high office.

Saleng said the absence of the chief minister has affected the functioning of other departments looked after by other cabinet ministers as Mukul holds several key portfolios himself — agriculture, finance, planning, mining and geology, commerce and industries and horticulture.

He also pointed to the unhealthy culture in the state amid the prevailing turmoil and the fragile law and order situation in the Garo hills region which has affected the smooth functioning of the government in carrying out various tasks, especially those relating to the rural areas of the state.

The Independent MLA also threatened to seek the Centre’s intervention and ask for the imposition of President’s rule in the state. Earlier, Opposition legislator of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Paul Lyngdoh, had termed Mukul a “visiting chief minister” as he visited his office in the state secretariat only four to five days a month and spent most of the days outside the state.