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HPC on Covid-19 encroaching into ‘legislative domain’: NPF

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Says decision to deduct 25% from LADP is illegal

DIMAPUR/KOHIMA, JUNE 3: Opposition NPF has sought the intervention of the Governor of Nagaland over what it alleged is the encroachment into the “legislative domain” by the High Powered Committee (HPC) on COVID-19 by diverting Voted (Planned Funds/LADP) into COVID-19 expenditure.

The Government of Nagaland has constituted the HPC on COVID-19 comprising of 6 members with the Chief Minister as Chairman. Other members of the Committee are drawn from the ruling parties and top State Government officials. The HPC is conspicuous by the absence of any elected members from the opposition NPF, despite the party being the single largest party in the State Assembly with 26 members.
The controversy is over the decision of the HPC taken on May 28 last to deduct 25% from the Local Area Development Plan (LADP) 2021-22 to meet expenditure to fight and prevent spread of COVID-19 in the State without consulting elected Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. The 25% will include 15% Common Pool funds and 10% from the normal fund.
But NPF Legislature Party Spokesperson, Imkong L Imchen insisted that the HPC on COVID-19 is not mandated to encroach into the State Plan Budgetary mechanism.
The LADP was initiated and implemented since 1991 under the caption ‘Compact Area Development’ and the fund was borne out of the State Plan Fund. “…it is a legislative mandate monitored by the Department of Planning and Coordination (State Planning Board) with the Chief Minister as the Chairman”, he said.
“Guidelines were formulated and notified duly which has the approval of the Legislative Assembly. Hence the LADP is within the domain of the Legislative jurisdiction and therefore Planned and Voted money. The HPC under no legal circumstances has the authority to divert this voted money to a different head without routing through the Legislative Assembly.
“For this matter, the confidence (Vote) of the House was bypassed, therefore unconstitutional and illegal action/activity of the HPC and as such liable to be quashed or by another superseding notification to that effect”, Imkong said.
The NPF alleged that the incumbent PDA Government is “acting as an aristocratic Government” negating all laid down democratic norms and procedures. “The NPF Legislature Party can no longer tolerate the arbitrary and dictatorial functioning of the PDA Government”, it said.
On the allocation of Rs 30 crores to the CIHSR, which is a private health institution, the NPF termed it as “another Oligarchic action” of the PAD Government.
“Whereas according to Dr Neikhrielie Khimiao, the Principal Director, H&FW, in his clarification stated that the 176-bedded hospital being set up at CIHSR would be a Makeshift COVID Hospital. And whereas makeshift hospitals are usually tentage and such a hospital costing to the tune of Rs 30 crores is happening yet again only in Nagaland under the present Government dispensation”, it said.
The NPFLP through the Raj Bhavan demanded a thorough NIA investigation. “The whole proofss of this construction is flawed and fishy as there was not flouting of tender in any form”, it said.
The NPFLP also alleged that so far no fund allocations worth mentioning have been made to the District Task Forces on COVID-19. All District hospitals, CHCs, PHCs and Sub-Centres are painfully neglected, it alleged.

“Whereas these are the nodal/primary bodies who are actually frontline workers fighting this COVID pandemic. No proper manpower deployment in these areas except the high sounding nomenclatures such as Expert Panel, High Powered Committee, State Disaster Management Authority, War-Room, etc., making only unnecessary noises in local media. Whereas the COVID case load is increasing day by day without any decline.
“Hospitals are sealed, Offices are sealed and State is under lockdown without proper arrangement. In short, the Government of the day is not functioning for all practical purposes. Perhaps, offices of the Finance department, Treasury & Accounts and Banking institutions are not sealed, reason is obvious for all to understand”, Imkong alleged.
Under these circumstances, the NPFLP sought the Governor’s intervention so that the people of Nagaland do not succumb to fatalities of COVID-19.
(Page News Service)