Views & Reviews
Public clarification regarding site permit for RFS, Phek
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]m constrained to issue this clarification to remove all misinterpretations and misgivings in connection with the site permit for up-gradation of Royal Foundation School (RFS), Phek town to higher secondary level.
RFS was started in 1999 on public desire and demand for good school in the district headquarters. Over the years, we have given service to the public and in particular, the students to the best of our ability. Whether we have lived up to that expectation or not, it is for the public to judge.Even after completing 40 years of its existence, Phek district H.Q. town has only one Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS) and one Government College to take in Class 11 and 12 students. Needless to say, every year, both students and parents have had harrowing times for admission into Class 11. The Government of Nagaland (GoN) had made several attempts till the year 2013 to detach Class 11 and 12 from Phek Government College (PGC) because of its standing policy. It has been only due to lack of other higher secondary school(s) in the town that the government had to retain Class 11 and 12 in PGC, year after years, on public demand.
In the backdrop of these problems, over the decade, there has been a great desire and demand for another higher secondary school in the town; a higher secondary school that can produce quality students. Feeling this urgent need, some of the concerned parents have time and again requested me to upgrade RFS to higher secondary level. Considering all aspects of parents and students problems as well as the long-term benefits that will accrue, we took a decision in this giant leap to meet the aspirations of the public.
However, the present school site has space problem for any new development. Taking into consideration the distance from all sides, I decided that the proposed higher secondary school should be in a place easily accessible by both students and parents. Having found no undeveloped space in other parts of the town, I selected our traditionally owned land that was left undeveloped till today. Therefore in the interest of the public, I applied for a site permit from the Deputy Commissioner (D.C), Phek. But my application was turned down. In his reply to my application, the D.C. Phek had claimed that the site applied for, falls within the GHSS boundary and no more land within GHSS campus will be allotted to any individual/organization. I protested against the decision because it was detrimental to the students and their futures.
The decision was very discriminatory because, despite the Govt.’s blanket ban on issuing new site allotment, his predecessors had given over 30 (thirty) allotments in the same campus. These included Govt. departments not directly under the Principal GHSS; public organizations; private individuals; other landowners and two private schools. The GHSS authority had consented to all these. Though they are not the allotting authority, recently, the GHSS has also permitted one new Govt. M.E. school to be established. The GHSS students had never staged any public protest against any of these in the past. After so many years of slumber, they staged a public protest when I sought for the site permit in my own land which they had left undeveloped since the inception of GHSS. As one of the landowners, I have made my stand very clear to all that; provided the incumbent D.C. and GHSS can undo the actions of their predecessors and restore the original boundary of GHSS, I’m more than willing to comply. However if that is not possible, justice cannot be brought about by stopping further allotment to a school which is for the service of the people.
It must be remembered that the GoN has been using our land in two locations within the so-called GHSS campus and its adjacent areas including the larger part of the public ground without proper documentation with us. These two areas of inherited land belong to the direct descendants of Late Rahuo Hoshi and not to the Hoshi Clan as many believed. Our prime land on which we cultivated for livelihood was left wasted for over 30 years. Till such time it is fairly compensated, no one has the right to call us encroachers. The term is applicable to non-landowner occupants only. We wanted to use this vacant land for educational cause only.
As per the standing policy of the GoN, the landowners are entitled Grade IV post (regular). But excepting one ad-hoc Grade IV in GHSS and one contingency Grade IV on fixed pay in SIRD, the GoN has not given us any regular Grade IV post. The vacancy created on account of the demise of one Grade IV (regular) from our family was also not given to us.
The district administration had demarcated the GHSS campus exclusively for the development of education in GHSS to which, none of the landowners had opposed. But the problem started only after the district administration and GHSS had used the lands randomly for purposes not intended. Such short-sighted actions had not only defeated the very objective of education development in GHSS but also desecrated the sanctity of the institution and destroyed the natural beauty of the campus. It was unfortunate that, when things had gone out of hands, the responsibility was thrust upon the innocent students of GHSS to cover-up the dirty tracks of authorities concerned. The GHSS students must not forget that they are expected to show some signs of gratitude to us and not the way they had protested.
We demand that, RFS should also be issued temporary site permit by applying the universal law of equality. When temporary site permits could be issued within the so-called GHSS campus to two other private schools who are not landowners, we, as the landowners deserve more. RFS is also giving service to the people as much as these two schools do. There should not be any favoritism towards some and discrimination against one. When justice was denied to me, we had every right to do what we want with our own land that has been left undeveloped and without being compensated in any way. But as law abiding citizens, we have honored the restraining order of D.C for the sake of peace.
I appeal to the public not to politicize the education of our children. It is true that we have an issue with the GoN in regard to fair compensation and rehabilitation for our lands used by the GoN. We will seek redressal as per the relevant provisions of the law in our own time. Therefore, we request the public to focus on the issue of upgrading RFS to higher secondary level which will be in the best interest of the students.
As of now, site development can be re-started only when the D.C withdraws his “Restraining order” and issue to us a temporary site permit. We have done everything on our part at his level. We are left with legal option that may take many years to settle the issue as it will not be for the site applied only but for the entire areas of our land used by GoN in three, out of five different locations in Phek. H.Q. Given the fact that landowners have constitutional safeguards; we are confident that justice will be delivered to us sooner or later. The people of Phek town have the right to demand for “right to higher secondary education in our own home town”. This is your call. You can help us to help you and your children. We hope better sense will prevail with everyone. After all, education is for the future of the new generation.
Dr. K. Hoshi