The Jotsoma Village Council is compelled to issue this release to let general public take note of its stand on the Kohima Science College Jotsoma land issue. It is learnt through social media as well as from the local dailies that Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Hon’ble Minster H&TE has assured ANCSU that the land encroachment issue of Kohima Science College Jotsoma will be taken up in the Cabinet Meeting scheduled to be held on 10th June, 2019 with “alternative arrangement”.
The Council through a press statement issued on 03/8/18 where the brief background of how 50 acres of Jotsoma community land has been donated and another area of 131.78 acres have been acquired by the State Government at a token compensation of 0.03 naya paise per sq. ft. in 1967/68. The villagers sacrificed their prime agricultural land in view of the request made by the State Government through the following officials, viz, Shri. L. Lungalung, Shri. H. Zopianga and Shri. T. Haralu who assured the villagers that a university would be set up from this place.
Over the years, several proposals for the establishment of the university was received. However, the State Government from its side either turned down the proposal or shift it elsewhere for reason best known to the authorities who took the decisions. The first proposal came in the mid of 1980s when NEHU proposed to establish Kohima Science College as a University College under NEHU along with Pachhunga College in Mizoram. The then authorities turned down the proposal to convert Science College into a University College while Mizoram readily accepted the proposal and today, Pacchunga University College in Aizawl, under Mizoram University has become a model university college of not only of NE Region but throughout the country.
Secondly, in the late 1990’s when the proposal for setting up Kohima Campus of Nagaland University came up, a Site Selection Committee was set up by the then Government and the Committee recommended Kohima Science College, Jotsoma to be the site for Kohima Campus of Nagaland University as the College has the basic infrastructures as well as congenial educational atmosphere for establishing a university. As a matter of fact, the District Administration had after negotiation with the villagers fixed the rate of land compensation to be Rs. 40,000/- (Rupees forty thousand) per acre which was officially communicated to the Village Council by the then Deputy Commissioner of Kohima. However, in 2003/04 Government once again shifted the site to the present site of Kohima Campus, Merema. The Council is very sure that the new site must be better than Kohima Science College, Jotsoma both in infrastructure-wise and existing educational environment which is a very important factor to be considered while choosing site for any educational institution. Moreover, the rate of land compensation must be cheaper than the one negotiated by the District Administration with the people of Jotsoma village and therefore, we have no complaint whatsoever of shifting the proposed site from Kohima Science College, Jotsoma to the present site at Merema.
Thereafter, the proposal to convert Kohima Science College as an Autonomous College was taken up by the authorities. Though the contribution of the village may be minimal, yet the Village Council too supported the proposal whole heartedly and we are happy and expresses our profound gratitude to the Ministry of HRD for granting Autonomous status to the College. Further, we are happy to learn that with granting of Autonomous status to the College, ways for upgrading the Autonomous College to that of a Deemed University has been opened, which will be most beneficial for the future Naga Students and will be a fulfillment of the dreams of our forefathers who sacrificed their land.
In the midst of all these, the ANCSU has taken up the issue of land encroachment within the college campus and had on 24th April, 2018 issued a shocking statement stating “vigorous agitation would include vandalizing the 3 Government buildings (Doordarshan Kendra, PHED and RCEMPA) located within the acquired land of Science College as an example for the encroaching the college land”. It is further learnt that on 14th August, 2018, the leaders of ANCSU had in a meeting with the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and other officials threatened to dismantle the aforesaid 3 buildings and to “shift the Kohima Science College out of Jotsoma village jurisdiction”. The Jotsoma Village Council wonders whether Kohima Science College, Jotsoma is the only college in the state which is having land encroaching problems for which the ANCSU is targeting at? Today Kohima Science College, Jotsoma is being treated as though it is the only college being encroached. Our questions to the government is whether allotments have been issued in the same manner in other colleges too out of the area acquired by the government either by acquisition or donation for development of the college. It is totally unfair to single out Kohima Science College, Jotsoma. We reiterate that the same yardstick should be applied in all colleges having land allotment and encroachment issues.
It may be clarified especially to the ANCSU officials that the land problem started due to the unabated allotment of government acquired land to individuals. In this context, the Village Council has been taking up the matter with the authorities since early 1980s and on 14th Nov. 1990, a High Powered Committee led by Prof. T.Chuba, the then Minister (Higher & Technical Education) decided “land belonging to Science College shall not be allotted to any organization/individuals other than for the purpose of expansion of Science College”. Thereafter, the Government issued as many as 9 Notifications banning allotment of land and in 5 of these Notifications, it is notified that officials who allotted land shall be held responsible and disciplinary proceedings shall be initiated against the concerned officials. Despite of the decision of the HPC and the Notifications banning land allotment, regrettably allotment of college land remained unabated till 2009. It was because of this unabated land allotment by the Government, the landowners claimed their land stating that the land was acquired for educational purpose and not let the government of the day to allot land to people of their choice. In this connection, the Village Council had already represented to the Government and also clarified to the public through its press release on 03/8/2018, that it shall take the full responsibility to let the land owners return the land to the college should the Government cancel and evict all the land allotted after the decision of the HPC and take action against erring officials as per the Notifications and OMs banning land allotment. The Village Council in furtherance of its resolution banned all constructions “both permit/patta holders as well as landowners reclaiming land within the acquired area” till further order from the Council vide its Notification dated 21-8-2018 which was published in all local dailies.
Having clarified the pertinent issues to the public, the Village Council is appalled to learn that the State’s highest authorities had assured the ANCSU that the Science College land issue would be taken up in the State Cabinet meeting scheduled to be held on 10thJune, 2019 and shall make an “alternative arrangement”. If the said alternative arrangement is meant “to shift the college out of the jurisdiction of Jotsoma village” as demanded by the ANCSU in its meeting with the Hon’ble Chief Minister and other officials on 14th August, 2018, the Village Council is to inform all concern that if such a decision is taken by the State Cabinet, the Village shall have no other option but to take back the land both donated as well as acquired land for which the village may not be blamed.
Mego Nagi Pfüdolhoulie Rino
Chairman, JVC Secretary, JVC
* Disclaimer. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and participants on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Nagaland Page.