My Years in Service
Khekiye K. Sema
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]ISTRICT PLANNING FUND: Perhaps the most sensitive responsibility of a Deputy Commissioner in any given District is on the issue of positive utilisation of this fund. The truth of the matter is that every Political Representative looks at this fund as their own political fund. I have no hesitation in recording here that as long as this philosophy continues to gain currency, there is no real hope for our people to gain any substantial development despite the substantial nature of funding. The past performance or the lack of it shows glaring futility of this exercise. At Wokha, we set out to do our best o set the picture right for the period 1998-1999. We have four Assembly Constituencies each receiving Rs.50,00,000/- which works out to a whopping two crores. Imagine the magnitude of real development that could be achieved over the years if only the use of this fund was truly planned and executed. I was unfortunately away on leave for a month in November and was late to set any effective pre-plan for execution. The Hon’ble Ministers and MLAs had already formulated their respective schemes and it was much too late to do anything to alter their designs. In an exclusive sitting however, we worked out a compromise policy.The DC would not interfere in the selection of the schemes of the Representatives and also to whom the work was allotted. Beyond this point they were informed that it would be the responsibility of the DC to ensure that the schemes were implemented and the money disbursed to the selected beneficiaries directly through the office of the DC; that the DPB would set up Verification Committees to check each of the work and the completion thereof, based on which payments would be made to the beneficiaries directly. It was to their credit that the new approach sought to be adopted was accepted gracefully. They were also requested to give a patient hearing to some of the proposals rendered by some of the member officers in the DPB, which they grudgingly did. In fact they even agreed to fund some of the critical areas eventually, when the merit of the proposals were explained to them. On the whole, this was a small step, but a step nevertheless in the right direction. If only all the DCs could stand their ground and strictly follow the laid down guidelines, no matter what the pressure, we could be a positive instrument in bringing about the much needed change and development. It is not very much the rules that is at fault but the man behind the rule that needs to change.GENERAL MATTERS OF ESTABLISHMENT: The standards of Office attendance, like anywhere else, were sadly wanting in all ranks. We set this right by ordering that the attendance register be put up on my table by 10.00 sharp. The staffs did not have the stomach to meet me over late arrival and gradually therefore, we saw some improvement in this sector.
We have a rather serious problem of record/file mismanagement by the Staffs and even the Officers. For instance, all the important Land Records and Revenue Maps of the District no longer exist. Past records of land acquirements made by the Government have been systematically removed from the files or reported missing. No one knows how. The word ‘confidential’ is no longer applicable in the Government establishment at Wokha. It would perhaps be quicker to notify the public, if we classify such notification as confidential. One can’t help feel that some of our staffs and even the Officers have been worling in close understanding with the land owners over the years. With the loss of records, the land owners have come out strongly, claiming and disposing even the Govt. Land acquired. Govt. Quarters have been forcefully occupied and rented out. We have sat tight, watching these rampant unreserved exercises of authority by the land owners. A case in example: the old Medical Colony. I have served eviction notice to all such cases and the need to physically drive the occupants out is a very necessary act ion that the Administration will have to execute. Unfortunately, this part of the job could not be accomplished before my departure. DC could take this assignment without a let up as his immediate priority and set the tone of his administration straight away. The people are bound to take the message.
OBSERVATION ON OFFICERS: The set of Officers presently serving in the District is generally an average lot. It is however a pity that all are Local Lotha Officers but one…EAC Ralan, Shri Kenye (Chakhesang). It is not an expression of bias against any one Tribe but a matter of simple logic. The local Officers have to bear the double quantum of pressure from family, the Clan, Village, the Range and even their local political big wigs. Under such abnormal circumstances, it would be rather difficult to expect them to deliver the goods as compared to those who do not belong to this community. The matter if their own interest area also comes in conflict with the performance of their daily chores. As has been reflected earlier, many have caused damage to the prestige of the Administration in innumerable ways. The DC is advised to study issues carefully by making efforts to take a cross section of opinion first before deciding on important subjects. While most of the present lot is OK, we have a few who would require some closer attention: Shri. Kikon, EAC of Bhakti. He never stays in his HQs and has shown no interest in his official work; The EAC of Sungro is normally ‘bottled’ up in his own ‘spiritual’ world and a little muddled up in his understanding on issues like the VDB and the VC. Yet he tends to be rather high handed in his dealings with the public of his area. I have had to review many of his decisions. Shri. Tsanglao, EAC Hq has not been too responsible in the carriage of hid official duty. While handling establishment portfolio, he directly submitted a proposal under OE budget without informing the DC or the Accountant. We ran into a messed up account. He had been given the charge of supply subject. He has yet to learn that the DC needs to be kept informed about the monthly essential commodity arrivals. I would however assess his performance as a matter of inexperience and not misdemeanour. He needs some guidance. The office Superintendent is found wanting in a good number of ways. His supervisory capability over his subordinates and his file management is lacking. He tends to keep files pending, especially those involving the VDB payment cases and is known for seeking ‘tea money’ from the villagers before processing their cases. The cost of his cup of tea is quite steep. He had withdrawn false TA claims without the knowledge of the DC. As a damage salvage exercise, order has been noted in the file that he will no longer handle VDB files. Keep a tab on him.
This more or less sums up the activities within my tenure. One last advice: make a conscious effort not to be tagged as a Ngullie an Ezung or a Kikon etc. You will not have to wait too long. Someone will come and define your equivalent clan. I was defined as an Ezung. I can only tell you that a good number of the Ezungs were found guily in my court and punished. That a way, I was a let down on the CLAN.
WISH YOU ALL THE BEST. OVER TO YOU.
KHEKIYE K. SEMA IAS