New Meghalaya CM poorer than coal mines-owning wife
He owns a Scorpio among three cars; she drives a Honda CRV and has two trucks. He owns two teak plantations covering 45 bighas, she possesses five large agricultural plots, two cashew-and-spices plantations, a tea estate, a 40-acre bamboo plantation and four coal mines.india Updated: Apr 20, 2010 17:13 IST
He owns a Scorpio among three cars; she drives a Honda CRV and has two trucks. He owns two teak plantations covering 45 bighas, she possesses five large agricultural plots, two cashew-and-spices plantations, a tea estate, a 40-acre bamboo plantation and four coal mines.
Even her laptop is costlier.
But she hasn’t something he values – a .32 bore revolver purchased a few years ago for Rs 80,000.
Meet Dikanchi D Shira, a Class I contractor and industrialist. She is also the wife of Mukul M Sangma, Meghalaya’s latest and 11th
Who is Mukul Sangma?
Born on 20 April 1965 at Chengkompara village in Ampati, West Garo Hills district
Served as medical and health officer at Zikzak PHC, West Garo Hills, in 1991 after completing MBBS from Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal
Joined politics in 1993, winning the Ampatigir Assembly constituency for the first time as an Independent
Joined the Congress and won three more elections from same constituency
Congress nurtured him for more than a decade to counter the influence of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma across the western half of Meghalaya inhabited by the Garo tribe
Was elevated to post of Deputy Chief Minister on 11 April 2005 when DD Lapang led the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government
Sworn in Meghalaya’s 11th CM on Tuesday, his 45th birthday
The 44-year-old Sangma took oath of office Tuesday afternoon, a day after DD Lapang submitted his resignation to Governor RS Mooshahary. Dissension with the Congress forced the latter to step down.
Shira is proud to be a self-made woman. “All that I have is not because of being a high-profile politician’s wife,” she says. Some of her assets, she insists, are inherited.
In matrilineal Meghalaya, the youngest woman in a family normally inherits property. The traditional rule, though, does not apply to the Garos, the tribe Sangma and Shira belong to.
But those in the know in this cloud-kissed northeastern state say much of what Shira owns was acquired by Sangma during his 17-year political career.
Sangma denies this. “It’s all in the affidavit I had filed prior to the 2008 Assembly elections,” he says.
According to the affidavit, he owns teak plantations at Marakaguru and Chandanpara in the Garo hills. Other than agricultural lands, his wife owns cashew and spices plantation at Balonggre and Gambagiri, a tea estate at Waram Asimgre and a 40-acre bamboo plantation at Marwat in Ri-Bhoi district.
Shira, who exported coal to Bangladesh, also owns four coal mines in West Khasi Hills district with an estimated deposit of 9,300 running metres. Besides, she has a brick manufacturing unit, a broom industry at Dainadubhi and is the proprietor of DDS Infotech, affiliated to Tata Infotech.
Surprising, much of Sangma and Shira’s assets do not carry any value. Sangma, in his affidavit, says it is difficult to put a value to the plantation land “until the trees mature”. It adds: “Lands in remote villages do not fetch much value because of total ban on transfer of land and non-availability of buyers.”
The coal reserves in Shira’s mines have likewise not been assessed.
Meghalaya is yet to implement its Mining Policy. “With the chief minister’s wife and many ministers, legislators and their kin involved in the coal mining business, it is unlikely to be implemented in the near future,” an Opposition MLA said on condition of anonymity.