Employees allege non payment of salary
From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, July 9: The employees of Barak Valley Hill Tribes Development Council (BVHTDC) have alleged that their salary for the entire financial year, 2010-2011 has not been paid and the reason attributed for that is not known to them. This has created extreme financial constraints for them and they are virtually on the brink of starvation. In a memorandum addressed to the Director of Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes, the employees while articulating their grievances said that according to their information a sum of Rs 30.60 lakh under establishment fund for the year 2010-11 was released to the Council and it was resolved at a meeting to utilize the non plan fund.
But, quite surprisingly, as they have alleged that Lalthomlien Neitham, chairman, instructed them to sign on the acquittance roll that he collected from the office of the member secretary in the name of giving salary for 11 months from April 2011 to February 2012. All the employees accordingly signed for the 11 months’ salary as directed by the chairman.
The chairman, as pointed out by them, has drawn an amount of Rs 23,06,530, being the salary of 11 months for the staff, from the office of the member-secretary. Their allegation to the effect has been backed up with relevant documents. The chairman, Lalthomlien Neitham, allegedly assured them that each of them will get salary for five months only. He did not discuss the matter with them. Neither did he offer any reason or explanation for retaining the salary of six months with him.
All the staff members sensing something fishy declared in writing that they could not accept payment of five months only. What about their salary for the rest six months? The chairman drew the amount of their salaries for 11 months. This has been an arbitrary step of the chairman and that there has been no official direction from the department at Dispur.
Their allegation further says that the chairman, Lalthomlien Neitham, left for Guwahati and stayed there for many days in order to avoid the pressure from the employees. When contacted over telephone by them, he told them after he reaches the office, settlement will be done. In the meantime, seven of the staff members have been paid their salary for five months on different dates. Seven other employees are yet to receive any payment.
On his coming back to the office, the employees have been pressing for their salary. But, he has been unrelenting in his attitude and on stand. The chairman instead has advised them to state before the media that they have received their salaries in full for 11 months. A local Bengali daily has come out with the report that the employees have received their salary in full which is totally false, they have pointed out. Having been pushed to the wall, the helpless employees, 14 in all, have made fervent prayer to the Director of the department to look into their grievances and cause an independent inquiry. They have drawn his attention to their hardships due to non payment of their salaries. They have to borrow money from different sources and even take essential food items on credits for their survival. But, how long, they question. They have prayed for his immediate intervention so that their salary as stated is released without further delay.
According to the statement sent to the Director, H B Ruolngul, UDA, Lalruotkim, LDA, Md Jamil Ahmed, LDA, Sumtholien and Lalremlien, grade IV who signed for 11 months have not received any payment. V L Muonga Pudaite, superintendent, and Lalringkam, LDA, have signed for nine months, but not paid for any month. Rachel Kamei, LDA, Habib Ahmed, LDA, Reingsuo, grade IV, Lalsiemkhun, grade IV, Gedion, driver, Md Modasir Ali Mazumdar grade IV and Khew Khasia grade IV have signed for 11 months, but received salary for five months only. This is really a matter of concern and question naturally arises about the very justification of a development council for the hill tribes.
Lalthomlien Neitham, chairman, it is to be recollected held a press-meet on June 7 to dismiss the allegations of misuse and misappropriation of the funds against him as malicious and mischievous. He then asserted with all records that his utilization of fund of Rs 30.60 lakh under non plan during 2011-12 is laid for scrutiny and perusal for the sake of transparency He has nothing to hide. He even said in order to make everything open and fair before all about the functioning of the Council, a website www.bvhtdc.in has been created which will furnish any information one seeks.