UKHRUL| Aug 1: All Hunphun Tang Association (AHTA) has appealed the State government to immediately distribute the incentives promised to over one hundred volunteers who were engaged in the celebration of state-level Shirui Lily Festival 2018 whiles stating in the failure to do so, the association will not extend cooperation in future.
During a press conference held at the office of UDWJA on Thursday, president of AHTA, Chonmi Raleng and its secretary, Khamung Mashangva disclosed that ahead of the state level festival in 2018, the then DC of Ukhrul, Harmit Pahuja Singh along with ADC, Leiyaphy Rita convened a joint meeting with AHTA at the chambers of the DC office to discuss matters concerning the festival.
In a press conference held at the office of UDWJA, president of AHTA, Chonmi Raleng along with its secretary, Khamung Mashangva disclosed that ahead of the state level festival in 2018, Harmit Pahuja Singh and Rita convened a joint meeting with AHTA at DC office chamber to discuss matters concerning the festival. During the meeting, Harmit Pahuja Singh had promised to pay incentives to the volunteers who would assist in the celebration of the five-day long festival and had also formally asked AHTA to fulfil the requisition of volunteers, he added.
“Subsequently, AHTA convinced each local committee of the 27 localities under it to provide five numbers of volunteers each on incentive basis and a total strength of 135 volunteers, mostly students were called in for deployment in various locations from May 23, a day ahead of the festival,” Chonmi Raleng stated. He also recounted that the services of the volunteers were utilised for smooth celebration of the festival where they were stationed at different event venues such as Ukhrul town, Shirui village, Phangrei etc. to keep vigil day and night.
“However, after the festival, then then DC, Dr. Pahuja Singh had promised incentives which had earlier been refused to be distribute to the volunteers who had rendered tiring services,” he continued while alleging that the then DC had directed the association to demand payments either from Ukhrul MLA , Alfred Arthur or then ADC, Leiyaphy Rita.
“Even though the exercise was reportedly approved with the knowledge of the MLA; however, in a meeting later, MLA Arthur had told the association leaders that he had sanctioned Rs 5,00,000 and Rs 2,00,000 to the district administration to meet the requirements of the celebration,” AHTA said.
While stating that the exercise was reportedly approved with the knowledge of the MLA, AHTA lamented that “However, the promised incentives being denied by the district administration, AHTA and local committees are bearing the blames from the families of the volunteers and they are now accusing the local leaders of misappropriating the incentive funds.”
The association further pointed out that the volunteers were not provided the opportunity to even lunch and dinner other than breakfast, while they were deployed rigorously day and night for almost a week.
AHTA further condemned the act of Dr. Pahuja Singh as highly irresponsible unbecoming of a district administrator; and the association has urged the authorities concerned to make him accountable for his own promise.