Emotions run high during question hour, CM fumes
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 08: Emotions ran high during question hour at the Assembly today with the Opposition and Treasury bench trading charges on the issue of violating the MoU signed between the State Government and the Union Finance Ministry.

As the debate dragged on, the note of irritation in the Chief Minister's tone was unmistakable.

The Treasury bench broke out in applause over a statement made by the Chief Minister while the Opposition broke out in unbridled laughter over an answer provided by a Minister.

This atmosphere unfolded following a question raised by O Joy over the appointment effected in the Directorate of Crafts and Training under the Labour Department in alleged violation of the MoU.

Replying to the question Labour Minister Z Mangaibou said that 77 employees have been appointed on contract basis under a special scheme of the North East initiated by the Prime Minister and totally funded by the Centre.

Not satisfied with the answer O Joy said even though the scheme may have been totally funded by the Centre, there is still a ban on all fresh appointments and demanded to know the procedures of the appointment.

He questioned whether the officers committee had recommended the appointment, whether the concurrence of the Finance Department was taken and whether it was put up for discussion at the Cabinet.

Joy demanded that the relevant papers be tabled in the Assembly.

Mangaibou answered that after the approval of the Cabinet twice, a notification for 27 posts was issued.

However 77 employees were appointed on contract basis.

Although the required man power of the scheme is 140 the Cabinet decided on recruiting only 125 employees, the Minister added.

Mangaibou further said that due to tight schedule the concurrence of the Finance Department has not been received but hastened to add that since the Cabinet is supreme that is not really necessary.

This elicited a loud laugh from the Opposition bench.

At precisely this moment, Chief Minister O Ibobi stood up and said that the appointments were made after due concurrence from the Finance Department.

For good effect he repeated that the Cabinet twice agreed to effect the appointment and added that the Officers' Committee had also recommended the appointment.

The Opposition however upped their ante and strongly charged that the appointments violated the MoU signed with the Centre.

Many other such appointments have also been made, charged the Opposition and demanded a thorough probe into all the matter.

A slightly irritated Chief Minister said that if the matter is to be probed then the appointments of 2500 employees after the first MoU was signed should also be investigated.

This drew a round of applause from the Treasury bench.

Mention may be made here that the first MoU was signed during the tenure of W Nipamacha on April 19, 1999.The second MoU was signed on June 20, 2002 after O Ibobi became the Chief Minister.

Agreeing with the proposal of the Chief Minister O Joy said all the cases should be probed and added that a special motion would be raised in the House and urged the Speaker to set aside some time for the purpose.