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Landowners association holds protest rally in Chozuba town

chozuba protest

Kohima, February 28: The aggrieved landowners association of SARDP-NE (Chakhabama to Zunheboto road) under Chozuba sub-division staged a silent protest rally in Chozuba town and had submitted an “Ultimatum for disciplinary action in respect of RTI obstruction on 24th February 2020.”
According to a copy made available to media persons after the submission of a copy to the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Chozuba seeking the authority’s intervention to constitute an Enquiry Committee and disciplinary actions, signed by the 11 signatories.
The statement stated, “The matter pertains to an incident on the 24th February 2020 at Chozuba Town around 5 to 6 p.m. where a mob of more than 100 people from various villages under Chozuba Sub-division led by ‘Nine Village Council Chairmen, Four Head GB, and others that also include and Ex-DB ‘ thronged into the residences of Cizonyi Khusoh and Veku Khusoh, intimidating them of dire consequences if they would not withdraw the RTI filed by them.
The duo Cizonyi Khusoh and Veku Khusoh were told to have been the convenor and secretary of the 2-lane road from Sedzu to Dzulha Aggrieved Property Owners Association (2LSDAPOA) who had filed 2 RTIs in respect of two-lane compensation at the Deputy Commissioner’s office Phek on February 12.
That had led the village council chairmen and party to ‘served a readily drafted letter of withdrawal and forced them to sign on the letter under intense pressure and life threatening situation where the duo acceded to the mob rule’.
The landowner association thus stated, “The letter of withdrawal of RTI applications were done under duress” and further added, “the association took it as an insult and direct attack on the whole association.”
They also expressed their disappointment to the government and stated, “The association expresses its frustration on the apathy of local administration with regard to land compensation issues raised by the land owners.”
Further it maintained and warned that, “The association have been working tirelessly for the cause of justice, transparency and timely completion of the two-lane project, but is bewildered at the administrative gimmick, causing social unrest in the area. We are to warn that, any similar incident as that of February 24, whereby the mob harassing justice seekers causing mental torture and trauma won’t be accepted anymore and any untoward incident will be the sole responsibility of the administrative failure.”
It went on to state that, “The association declare that, RTI as a Right will never be sacrificed at the altar of might and at any cost will defend it.”
In this regard the association demanded the authority; to “constitute an enquiry committee for the February 24th incident within 10 days from the receipt of the letter and submit the report within 20 days from the date of constitution of the committee” and also placed on record the charter of demand, “with the findings of enquiry committee disciplinary actions be taken against all perpetrators. The VCCs, GBs and all Government Servants participating in the mob activity be booked under appropriate law for the commission of crime against RTI Act 2005.
The aggrieved landowners association took the silent protest rally for the mob activity from Zero point, Chozuba Town till the ADC’s office that saw reported to have about 350 families from 12 villages holding play-cards with various slogans that some reads.take immediate action against RTI Suppressor; No action No government; RTI can never be sacrificed at the altar of might; No RTI no transparency; sabotage of RTI is murder of democracy etc.
“Our stand is not against any individual nor any leadership but a fight for transparency” said a member.
Also interacting with reporters was a member, Moses Rose who highlighted how the issue crop out and said, “This project came up with big hope came up for the development of the community, but in the process when we were called to receive the compensation money but prior to that we demanded for a list of beneficiaries however the authority denied that and therefore in the month of April when all the landowners called up to Chozuba in ADC office to receive the amount (Compensation money).”
Rose maintained that when they then demanded the list of beneficiary and the measurement and the amount due to them, “But the list was not made available to us and when we insisted on it then they asked us to file and RTI and we did the same in the month of April 2019 at the office of Deputy Commissioner Phek. After receiving the list we came to know that we there are lots of issues in it, with regards to non-existing building and those in the right of way.”
He then stated that the people under Chozuba sub-division had a sitting and said “We make a list and brought those non-existing building from Chetheba to Chozuba side and to Sukruzu area, combining all those together we had find out that it is amounting to 17.6 crore.”
Following which the association wrote complaint to the DC Phek on June 12, 2019 for the discrepancy base on the RTI data appealing to take action for the variance, ‘but with no action from his side we were force to go for another step higher and on July 24 2019 we submitted the same to the Chief Secretary.”
“Even to that extend no action was forthcoming, so on October 10, 2019 we submitted a memorandum along with charter of demand and data to the Chief minister, still then nothing was coming.”
Out of the four charter demands submitted to the chief minister- to carried out re-verification for the bogus issues (non-existent building) and the administration was told to have carried out the verification drive on December 5 2019 however the member criticised that no findings were made available to the public despite several appeals.
Rose also stated that these circumstances led the association to file RTI to the district administration on February 12 and subsequently, the village council chairmen came with the threat to the association leaders.
He remarked, “This is purely a case discrimination of our democratic right. RTI is a right for every individual and today the protest is to show resentment and submit a memorandum to ADC, Chozuba so that action be taken against the perpetrators.” (Page News Service)