Rio refutes charges of ‘fund diversion’
Kohima, April 5 (PTI): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today rubbished allegations of embezzlement of funds levelled against the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government by opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF).
The NPF recently accused the ruling alliance of diverting funds, amounting to Rs 150 crore, from ongoing road projects.
“As opposition, they will bring complaints and raise non-issues,” Rio told reporters on the sidelines of a programme organized by his party, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), at Chiephobozou ground in Northern Angami-II Assembly constituency.
“The question of diversion of funds from road projects does not arise as the PDA government used the money that was left unutilized by the previous government,” he said, adding that NPF has leveled “baseless” allegations without furnishing any proof.
The CM also said that a private firm from Australia, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility activities, is willing to provide an air ambulance for the interior areas of Nagaland for free, provided the villagers agree to part with 500 meters of land for construction of a runway.
A committee has been set up to oversee the matter and the Australian company will be visiting the state this month to discuss the possibility of the project.
“It is a welcome step as they will bring their own plane and pilot and give free ambulance service. The only condition is that the villagers will have to provide land,” Rio said, adding that the state would be allocating grants from the Village Development Board (VDB) funds for the construction of runway.
Asked about the proposal of renaming the Indira Gandhi Stadium to Dr T Ao Stadium, Rio clarified that no notification has been issued on the matter.
“Now that we have received objections to the proposal, we plan to review the matter,” he said.
During his last tenure as the chief minister, Rio said, his government had acquired a land in Seithekema, Dimapur, for construction of Dr T Ao Football Academy and an amount of Rs 90 lakh was released from the state funds for the purpose.
The proposal, however, could not get through following the completion of his previous tenure as the next government, helmed by the NPF, “made a mess of it”, Rio claimed.
The foundation stone for the academy at Siethiekiema will be laid this month, he said, adding that the North Eastern Council (NEC) has given Rs 13 crore and Tata Trust another Rs 15 crore for the project.
Asked about the appointment of 20 PDA MLAs and ruling alliance leaders as advisers and chairpersons of government undertakings, Rio said, “Everybody has to work The MLAs got elected to work for the people.”