Asserts Govt. serious on conduct of ULB elections
KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 9: Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today expressed hope that signing of a final agreement by the Government of India with either the NSCN (IM) or the Working Committee of NNPGs would make Nagaland a very special State with more additional privileges.
“The negotiations are going on and they are the negotiating parties… I cannot say what is going to happen or what is happening, it is for them to tell”, said Rio while interacting with Reporters on the sidelines of an official function at Hotel Vivor, Kohima.
The signing of the Framework Agreement or Agreed Position means formulation of a system in the Indian Union on how to go about and protect the uniqueness, history, culture and tradition of the Naga people, he said.
It would also decide on how Nagas will be kept as a privileged people, starting from Article 371(A), the outcome of the 16-Point Agreement, he said.
“Many more new things will be added to us and we will be a very very special State even if any agreement comes”, said Rio while responding to the stand of the State Government.
Meanwhile, to query on the conduct of the elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the State, Rio said the State Government during a recent meeting with the apex civil societies have decided to set up a committee headed by Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary Home as member secretary with nominees from Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), Central Nagaland Tribes Council and Tenyimi Public Organisation as well as two women representatives.
Lamenting that the State was deprived of ULB grants to the tune of Rs 135 crore from the 14th Finance Commission, he said the Government cannot allow administrative officers to run the ULBs but there has to be a duly elected body to run the affairs of the municipals and town councils.
He said till the committee comes out with proper recommendations, the State Government would be nominating members to the ULBs so that the State does not miss the grants of the 15th Finance Committee.
This will be a stop-gap arrangement and once the committee comes out with proper recommendations elections will be definitely held, he said.
He reiterated that the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution is related to Panchayati Raj and concerns the rural local bodies from which Nagaland is exempted as the Naga people have their own tradition, culture and customary practices in place.
However, the 74th Amendment is related to urban areas and women reservation, but our people are thinking that we can impose our tradition of running the affairs of the people, he said.
He also said that if the Municipal and Town Council elections are not held, the Centre is reluctant to give the grants to the ULBs. Citing that it is the people who keep blaming the Government for not giving grants to the ULBs but also don’t want to follow the Municipal Act, he said Naga society is a spoiled society and we have to learn how to work and eat.
“The urban areas are cosmopolitan and it is everybody’s place… Our traditional system cannot be imposed on someone else but elections have to be conducted and for time being nominations have to be done”, he said.
He also explained that the taxations collected by the ULBs will not be given to the State Government but will be for the upkeep of their own towns like road maintenance, sanitation and other activities.
On the objections from certain quarters with regard to nomination of ULB members, Rio said “This is democracy and anybody can raise their voice, but they should give proper reason why the Government should not nominate members to the ULBs”.
(Page News Service)