GUWAHATI: Power department officials in Meghalaya have a tough task at hand — they have been directed by the Meghalaya High Court to retrieve two cheques lost about 47 years ago!
Hearing a petition filed by some villagers, Justice SR Sen of the High Court set a four-week deadline to the government to inform in writing as to where these cheques were lying. Back in the mid-1960s, the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) had acquired community-owned land at Lawbyrwa village in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya, which was a part of Assam until 1972, for Umiam stage II hydropower project.
Subsequently, it issued some cheques as compensation for the villagers, whose land was acquired. But two cheques, one issued on July 25, 1968 amounting to `2,95,966.76 and the other on November 13 the same year for `7,946.14, never reached the villagers.
The matter came to light only after the aggrieved villagers had moved the court.
Appearing for the Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Limited (MeECL), senior counsel KS Kynjing suggested that the Chief Accounts Officer (CAO), ASEB, be summoned to assist in finding the cheques, since the entire transaction was done by the ASEB before Assam was divided.