Kohima, August 6: Nagaland Government is losing crores of rupees due to a wrong deal on Nagaland House Kolkata. The Government is now in deep soup as the Court favours the Civil Engineers Enterprises Private Limited (CEEPL).
In reply to a question raised by NPF legislator Imkong L. Imchen, Home Minister, Yangthungo Patton told the Assembly today that in 1997 a lease agreement was executed between the State Government and the CEEPL in respect of Nagaland House Commercial Complex (Nightingale building). The lease was for 20 years with clauses for renewal for another two terms. The lease expired in the year 2017 and the Government made a claim of enhanced rent at Rs 2.2 crores instead of Rs 5 lakhs, which the tenant was paying every month.
“This order was challenged by the lessee who offered to pay a paltry amount of Rs 7 lakhs rent per month for an area of 13736 sq. metres with buildings in the heart of Kolkata,” he said.
Patton further informed that order of the Government for claiming enhanced rent was challenged by the lessee in the Calcutta High Court. The Court on May 14 last year directed the Government to receive Rs 7 lakhs per month as rent without prejudice to its rights and contentions till the disposal of the interim application GA No. 486 of 2018. He said the application came up for final hearing on a few occasions and on July 15 last year was argued at length.
“The court hinted that if the rent is enhanced whether the Government will give up its other claim. The Advocate General pointed out to the court that the State has a right to pursue other legal remedies like filing a suit for possession etc. It shall avail of all the remedies apart from seeking the relief of enhancement of rent/compensation,” he said.
The case is part heard and will again come up for hearing on September 6 next.
To another query by Imchen, the Home Minister said the State Government has filed counter affidavit against the CEEPL (M/S Ghosal & Co) on July 16 last year and the lessee has filed its rejoinder.
Asked what steps had been taken by the Joint Parliamentary Committee, Patton said the Government is taking all steps to fight the case for its rights and a Joint Parliamentary Committee has been constituted on October 26 last. Also Cabinet in its meeting held on June 29 this year deliberated on the matter and decided that members of the JPC should attend the court hearing on July 15. The JPC had detailed discussion with the Advocate general on the case on July 14 at Kolkata. The committee members also attended the Calcutta High Court hearing of the case on July 15 led by K T Sukhalu, Advisor School Education, and observed that the Advocate General made strong defense in favour of State Government.
“The Advocate General strongly contended that the right of the Government for enhancement of rent as well as government’s right to take possession of the state property,” he said.
After hearing the JPC had further discussions with the Advocate General and his team of Advocates to persistently fight for the case with the active cooperation of everyone, he informed the House.
Sukhalu also told the Assembly that there was a sense of partiality of the Calcutta High Court over the judgment of the matter.
Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition, T R Zeliang said the current imbroglio was due to wrong deal with the company twice in the past and asked the Government to pursue the matter vigorously so that the State does not lose money which could have salaried the employees of Nagaland houses.
Former Home Minister Imchen said because of the wrong deed with the M/s Ghosal the people of Nagaland are having sleepless nights.
Replying to a query raised by NPF MLA, Yitachu, Minister for Transport, P. Paiwang Konyak told the Assembly that initially Inland Waterways was under Planning and Coordination Department but transferred to Transport Department in 2015. He said due to lack of technical expertise Government requested IWAI to prepare detailed project report for Tizu-Zungki river. Further for development of Tizu-Zungki river between India and Myanmar as an Inland waterway corridor, IWAI has awarded the work of preparation of DPR to M/s WAPCOs (Water and Power Consultancy Services India Limited undertaking. The preparation of DPR is in progress and expected to be submitted to IWAI shortly, he added.
To another query whether the department has taken decision for the waterways project, the Minister informed the House that for effective coordination and implementation of the projects Nagaland Inland Waterways Board was constituted under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary on November1, 2016. Again on the recommendation of the Government the NIWB was re-constituted under the chairmanship of Rajya Sabha MP, K G Jenye on July 3, 2017.
“The State Government has been providing logistic support and security cover to the WAPCOS team during their visit to the proposed project site for preparation of DPR,” Konyak said.
He said the proposed Hydro project in the same river would be possible.
In reply to a question raised by NPF MLA, Picto Shohe, State Government said it has forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Social Women and Child Development Government of India for establishing a CDPO post at Atoizu headquarters. Minister for Rural Development, Mitsubo Jamir on behalf of the Social Welfare Department said Government would pursue the matter with the Union Government.
On fund allotment for Coco-Road and Saptiqa road, Roads and Bridges Minister Yangthungo Patton said since 2013-14 to 2018019, Government has been allotting Rs. 1 crore, every year for Atoizu division and asked how the funds were utilized. MLA, Picto said he also doesn’t know how the funds are being utilized.
According to a record made available by the Department from 2013-14 to 2018-19 Government has allocated Rs. 52.50 lakhs and for Saptiqa only Rs. 7.50 lakhs in 2019-20.
Picto asked the State Government to accord priority to Coco road as it is a lifeline of not only Zunheboto but Tuensang too.
Minister in-charge of Information and Public Relations P. Paiwang Konyak in reply to a question raised by Picto said the department has submitted a proposal for creation of Information Centre at Atoizu on January 18 this year and it is under process for the consideration of the Government.
Minister for Agriculture G. Kaito Ayeh said the amount sanctioned under International Fund for Agriculture Development since inception was Rs 13.13 crores.
Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, C M Chang said the total of 12712 Ha of purchased lands in 21 locations pertains to the lands purchased for supply of bamboo to Nagaland pulp and paper corporation. He was replying to a question raised by MLA, Aemba Yaden on whether the area of 12712 Ha of the purchased lands in 21 locations are secured from encroachments and illegal exploitations.
Chang said there has been encroachment in several places across the state.
“Government pursuant to the directions from the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide notification dated 3rd May 2006 has constituted a committee for carrying out eviction of encroachers from Government forest lands.
R&B Minister Patton informed the Assembly that from January 2018 to June 2019 department had appointed 172 Grade-III staff and that appointments were made after obtaining die approval from the Government. He said 37% of backward reservation was not fully maintained till June 2019. (Page News Service)