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6th Nov. Meet: Eyewash of vested interest

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By EMN Updated: Nov 20, 2013 10:22 pm
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Jonas Yanthan

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]rominent members present at the recent 6th Nov “State level consultative meet” chaired by the Chief Secretary and attended by the Chief Minister had asserted that we are matured enough in our reasoning and so do not need the intervention of other higher authority in regard to the policies of the State. I wish it were true but sorry to say that in effect we do not see any commensuration with the standard of such verbal assertions on the ground. Our mentality, even today, is still a frog in a well and this is because of harboring jealousy, dishonesty, undue pride and selfish attitude.Two primary issues were discussed on the day, namely: ‘Article 371 (A) of the Constitution’ and on the ‘Rules of Executive Business’. Ideationally, everyone articulated correctly on the said Article that the people are the rightful owners of land and resources in Nagaland. Ironically, these very persons started talking and reasoning differently when the question of whether the owners of resources were taken into confidence while finalizing the rate of shares. Planning & Geology Minister, Mr. TR Zeliang confirmed that the revenue sharing of Rs. 16/- was fixed neither in consultation with land owners nor by bidding but unilaterally by the State Government. Isn’t this decision of the P&NG Cabinet Committee a blatant disregard to the right of Ownership of Land and Resources? Can we call this exhibition of high standard matured reasoning of our Nagaland Assembly? And then the funniest thing is these leaders blame the Union Government of infringing our people’s right to land whereas it is they who are infringing on the rights of the people. This is the real hurdle to the speedy implementation of the oil extraction works in the State and not the Centre’s faulty interpretation of the Article as alleged by our Ministers. Why blame the Centre of misinterpretation of the Article when the whole mischief is done by our own leaders due to vested interests.
Another episode of our leaders’ immaturity is when a question was raised as to how Rs.8/- (50%) of the meager Rs. 16/- fixed by the Cabinet Committee is deducted by the Government as its share. To this query, the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Mr. Neiphiu Rio answered saying that it is being deducted to develop those districts that have no Oil. Isn’t this reply childish as is also a wrong logic in our context since there is no wealth tax? With due respect, according to the logic of what the Hon’ble CM had said one can rationalize saying that some Nagas own Hotels, Resorts, Multi-storied rented apartments, private water supply etc from which they earn almost Crores of Rupees hence does the government deduct 50% from such earnings to develop those who have no such resources or wealth? If what the CM had said is the logic then such deduction must be implemented on every resource and not on Oil alone. If deduction is only on Oil then it is discriminatory in nature. And worst still, by the logic of the unilateral fixation of rate by the P&NG Cabinet Committee, Nagaland Government can sell anybody’s property without the consent of the legitimate owners. This makes the Nagaland rules and regulation on P & NG anti- Naga as well as anti-Article 371 (A).
It was expected of the Hon’ble CM, being in a position as defender of the rights of the people and one who expounds transparency vehemently, to elucidate on the whopping remaining Rs. 84/- that is left after deducting meager Rs. 16/- as to how much is the Company’s share, how much revenue Nagaland would be accruing by way of taxes and how the affected people of the project areas are to be benefited and developed but unfortunately nothing. Is this what we call standard or quality of leadership? I am stating this because the people have the right to know and there are Oil Companies in the world who would venture even for Rs. 10/- profit only.
In regard to the issue of ‘Rules of Executive Business’, given the mentality of the Naga politicians and from what we witness, Nagaland necessarily need ‘Checks and Balance of power’ for the simple reason that nepotism and favoritism is still very strong in Naga mentality, deplorably. These are taking place even with the ‘rule’ in force and without it we will one day find unpalatable promotions and transfers. Today, there are so many deeply disappointed officers and employees due to unjust supersession in seniority through political interference and pressure (court cases and agitations in this regard are witnesses to it) causing demoralizing effect on employees and the seemingly random intake of deputation-ists and regularization efforts thereof by the Government inconsistent with the deputation rules appear to be creating mental havoc among the employees. The worst hit are the hundreds of NCS and NSS Officers who are second to none if only given the opportunity of higher responsibility through time bound promotional avenues and reposing faith in them. This needs urgent and firm decision by the Assembly to bring harmony and to enthuse the morale of the almost a lakh employees of the state to serve the people with dignity and pride. DAN government must do it instead of just preaching about accountability, transparency and good governance. The genuine task of a good and responsible government is to bring orderliness in place. Does DAN have the guts to do it is the question?
Another trend that demands rethinking is that it is good to have an Airport in Kohima but it is not only impractical but also unnecessary now for the reason that even the Dimapur Airport cannot be sustained due to lack of passengers and why railway line to Zubza when the government cannot even provide all season roads and water supply to the villages. For a State like Nagaland, Airports and railways are still at superstructure level with roads remaining as basic and these are extremely underdeveloped. Fifty years of Statehood and still majority of our villages are without proper roads or water supply. Political leadership in Nagaland must concentrate on first thing first. We cannot have superstructures without infrastructure in place. This only shows the poor reasoning ability of our leadership and worst still is the dumb and meek bureaucrats who have chosen to be slaves of their political masters despite knowing what is best for the people or do they?
Despite this sorry state, I think DAN can do a better job. We have seen it in their first DAN ministry where what the Congress Government could not do anything tangible in a decade and that too a term with a lone Independent MLA as its Opposition Member could not construct the Referral Hospital, Dimapur and the Police Headquarters, DAN ministry could complete them in record three years. This is to name a few. We expect more such deliveries from the third DAN absolute ministry or will its majority be used only to frame highly objectionable resolutions and rules like that of P & NG.

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By EMN Updated: Nov 20, 2013 10:22:18 pm