A 70 ton vote of no confidence at Meghalaya House

It was envisioned to be the symbol of Meghalaya’s progress. Until Sunday morning, a 70-ton dome under construction of the new State Assembly Building collapsed.

What followed was a fierce political blame game, with the National People’s Party (NPP) led state government facing criticism from opposition parties as well as the BJP ally. , and questions about allegations of corruption. The accident having occurred early in the morning, there were fortunately no injuries.

The BJP said on Wednesday it would discuss the issue with its two MPs, one of whom is a member of the cabinet led by Conrad Sangma. “We have two MPs, but we are the ones who took the initiative to form this MDA (Meghalaya Democratic Alliance) government. We decided today to call the two MPs, discuss and send our report to Delhi to the National President. Then we will take a call,” BJP Chairman Ernest Mawrie said. The Indian Express.

The BJP leader also said his party was in favor of an agency outside the state carrying out an independent investigation. “Whatever investigation is going on in the state, it ends with the submission of the report and the report never becomes public. Since this is a technical point, they (the government) should also involve their own vigilance committee. Also, as this is a centrally sponsored program, it is correlated and a decision must also be made on a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) investigation,” he added.

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Mawrie’s deputy, Bernard N Marak, previously said Sangma should either allow a CBI investigation into the incident or stand down. Stating that the BJP expected good governance, development and intolerance of corruption when supporting the NPP, Marak said the Sangma government had failed his party and the people of the state.

Opposition parties, including Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), have also pointed the finger at the Sangma administration. In a statement on Wednesday, Congress said it would await the findings of a High Power Committee (HPC) chaired by Assembly Speaker Methab Lyngdoh. “They have to be clear about it, have to do all kinds of audits; they would have to look at the bidding process, construction anomalies or whatever they had. They will put experts in place and we expect something positive to come out of it,” the party added.

The TMC alleged that the poor quality of the dome was the result of institutional corruption. The party leader in charge of the region, Subal Bhowmik, on Wednesday called for a judicial inquiry by a sitting High Court judge into the dome collapse, but rejected Sangma’s decision to seek an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to carry out a technical audit.

“I think this audit is an attempt to cover up the issue,” he said Wednesday. “No major corruption has ever been uncovered in the North East through such audits. The truth is to be discovered through a judicial inquiry by a judge sitting in the High Court. »

Opposition parties, including Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), have also pointed the finger at the Conrad Sangma administration. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal/File)

Asked about the calls for his resignation, Sangma said the day before that it was not for him to decide. “It is not my decision to say whether I will resign or not. It is the MPs from the various coalition partners who will take the call. They are the ones who elected me and they are the ones who will decide, ”said the CM.

“We have the incident at length and we have made decisions… We have decided to carry out a third party audit to find out the reasons for the collapse of the whole building. They will also investigate the collapse of the dome and at the same time they will also examine the strength of other areas like the left and right wings, the main hall corridor, the reception area and the bedrooms of the President, Chief Minister. and other areas of the ground,” President Lyngdoh said.

The new legislature building became necessary after the previous one was damaged by fire in 2001. Since then, Assembly sessions have been held in the auditorium of the Department of Arts and Culture in Shillong. The estimated cost of the new assembly building at Mawdiangdiang is Rs 177.7 crore. A construction agency from Uttar Pradesh was commissioned to build it and work began in 2019. It was due to be completed in July but is now facing an undue delay as work will not resume, especially on the main building , until the audit report is submitted.

Authorities have initiated damage control measures to ensure no further damage occurs. Unauthorized people are not allowed to enter the building and authorities will cover the gaping space left by the collapsed dome to prevent water leaks.

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