Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Saturday said that measures would be initiated to reduce taxes imposed by the state government on petrol and diesel, even though it would be at a substantial revenue loss.
Addressing a bye-election rally in support of National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Pynidaid Sing Syiem at Umpling village for the Mawryngkneng assembly constituency,
Sangma, who is president of the party, said, “I will definitely examine this matter.I cannot say anything right now”.
He told the gathering that as chief minister, it was required for him to explain to the citizens of the State that his government was doing whatever it could to minimize their inconvenience due to the hike in fuel prices.
“Even though it means that we will reduce the different revenues that we get,” Sangma said, adding that Meghalaya’s rate of tax on petrol and diesel was one of the lowest in the country.
“The reason why we have ensured that it is the lowest, is to make sure that our people do not suffer much, even though it’s a huge financial loss, for the State government, it is difficult in times like COVID-19,” the Chief Minister said.
Countering the opposition’s attack on his government over the hike in fuel prices, the Chief Minister maintained that the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel were due to the rise in global prices of fuel.
“It is not because the Meghalaya government has raised its rate. We are the lowest, and we will remain the lowest for the benefit of our people. But global prices going up, has caused inconvenience,” he said.
Dwelling on the issue of non-payment of salaries to the Sarva Shiksha Aviyan (SSA) teachers, the Chief Minister assured that the government would do all in its capacity to try and resolve the issue at the earliest.
Sangma pointed out of that the salaries that are provided to SSA teachers, 90 percent come from the Central government and 10 percent is given by the State government.
“So it’s a 90/10 funded program. Until and unless we don’t get funds from the Central government, we are not able to clear the salaries of our SSA teachers and the same has been going on for many years,” he said.