Grant-in-aid: NPF legislators slam Nagaland govt

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HT Correspondent

DIMAPUR, Jan 11: The Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislators from Kohima, Mokokchung, Tuensang, Dimapur and Phek districts on Friday slammed the People’s Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland for the delay and change in allocation of Rs 96 crore grant-in-aid released by the Niti Ayog in November 2017 to carry out developmental activities in rural blocks.

Dimapur district NPF legislators Azheto Zhimomi and Moatoshi Longkumer also in a joint statement earlier said the Dimapur District Rural Development Agency) had not received grant-in-aid for rural blocks for 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2017-18.

NPF legislators of Kohima district Khriehu Liezietsu and Keneizhakho Nakhro, in a joint statement, said the Rs 96 crore sanctioned by Niti Aayog in November 2017 as part of special additional grant of Rs 185.09 crore to Nagaland never found its way to the beneficiaries.

The two MLAs alleged that the state rural development department “in an attempt to save their political masters is squirming to find a safe passage out of it by throwing words like ‘guidelines’ ‘criteria’ et al”.

They also alleged that the department was also not performing as per central ministry’s laid down guidelines.

The four NPF legislators from Mokokchung – Imkong L Imchen, Dr Nganshi Ao, Amenba Yaden and Dr Imtiwapang – said after the sanction of the grant-in-aid in November 2017, the high-level committee constituted by the state government in December 2017 did the sub-allocation with the rural development department as the nodal department. However, the MLAs said after the NDPP-led PDA government was installed in March 2018, the sub-allocation done by the high-level committee was altered, which was against the norm and practice.

The MLAs have appealed to the Nagaland governor to look into the matter and take corrective measures “before this government makes a further mockery of the democratic system and governance and also in line with the guidelines of the government of India”.

The NPF legislators of Tuensang district – Toyang Chang, Kejong Chang and Muthingyuba Sangtam – alleged that Rs 96 crore, which is due to villages, had gone missing for almost a year since its clearance from the state finance department and miraculously reappeared for some of the districts when the leader of Opposition T.R. Zeliang pried on the matter. “This is quiet astonishing for any department in the state by any standard,” the three MLAs said in a joint statement.

They alleged that PDA government has been unable to bring any new scheme or additional funds to the state but was able “to magically make Rs 96 crore which has been brought by the previous Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government to disappear for almost a year”.

the party legislators from Phek district on Friday expressed shock at the “flimsy excuse” given by the rural development department in a press statement with “pompous technical terms” to confuse the public.

In a joint statement, the four NPF legislators from the district – Kuzholuzo Neinu, Yitachu, Chotisuh Sazo and Kezhienyi Khalo – accused the department of attempting to shield the PDA government’s mismanagement of the grant-in-aid as its claims that fund was released to two districts and some blocks of another district have been denied by the districts.

They sought a clarification why Phek district had been denied the fund even after a lapse of almost a year of it being cleared by the State finance department.

Alleging that the rural development department changed the approved sub-allocation done by the high-level committee, the four legislators asked Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is also minister in-charge of the department, to explain as to how the sub-allocation given to the communitised departments as per their requirements has been drastically reduced to bare minimum.

On January 8, Zeliang urged governor P.B. Acharya to order a probe by State Vigilance Commission into the delay in release of Rs 96 crore grant-in-aid to “excluded areas” by the rural development department.

 

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