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Nagaland Govt. will go ahead with ULB election: Advisor Zhaleo Rio

Nagaland News

Will not participate unless NMA 2001 is reviewed & tax on land and building deleted: Urban councils

KOHIMA, MARCH 21: Nagaland Government on Tuesday reiterated the decision to go ahead with conduct of elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as per schedule on May 16.
The Government reiterated its stand during a closed-door meeting of the 60 legislators held in presence of the Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Deputy Chief Ministers ~ TR Zeliang and Yanthungo Patton ~ right after the adjournment of the day’s Assembly session on Tuesday.
The meeting was held in the Conference of the Assembly Secretariat here.
Confirming the Government’s decision, Advisor for Urban Development Department and Municipal Affairs, Zhaleo Rio said the Government is prepared to conduct the ULB elections with 33% women reservation as directed by the Supreme Court and there it has been notified.
He also said that Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio will be making a statement on the issue in the Assembly during the ongoing session.
Asked about the details of the discussion, he said these are contentious issues and cannot be divulged but it was more on explaining the Government’s position to the legislators.
“We will not deviate from our stand notified earlier”, he said.
On the demand of the tribal hohos and municipal and town bodies for amendment on tax on land and building, Rio said people are confused while the matter has also been clarified by the Urban Development Department.
Meanwhile, representatives of the ULBs including 3 municipal councils of Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung and 23 out of the 36 town councils on Tuesday held a meeting in Kohima and deliberated on their demand for amendment of the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001.
Talking to media persons after the meeting, Dimapur Urban Council Chairman Federation (DUCCF) president Zasivikho Zakiesato said the 3 municipalities and 36 town councils resolved that the Article dealing with tax on land and building should be deleted totally and not just omitting it.
The municipal and town councils do not have any issue on conducting the elections with women reservation but unless the Government fails to listen to the voice of the people, they will not participate in the ensuing elections and also not allow anyone to file nomination, he said.
Municipal & Town Councils agree to stand together
Meanwhile, during the meeting held at Hotel 2K, the municipal and town councils after thorough deliberation on the NMA 2001 unanimously agreed to stand together in the larger interest of 0Nagas and to uphold Article 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution.
They adopted a 3-point resolution which are as follows:
1. The meeting resolved to strongly urge the Government of Nagaland to review the entire contents of the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, its applicability, usages according to the reality and practicability of the Naga people, before the conduct of the elections.
2. The meeting also resolved not to allow any form of taxation on property i.e. tax on land and buildings, either in Municipals or Towns.
3. In the event of the Government failing to review the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, the three Municipal Union and Town Councils will not participate nor allow any candidate to contest or file the nomination.
Mention may be made here that ULB elections in the State are long overdue as the last polls were held in 2004. In 2017, the Government had withheld the decision to conduct the election after clashes left two persons dead and several others injured on the eve of the day of voting.
The subsequent clashes also led to the setting ablaze of Kohima Municipal Council office and adjoining Government offices in the State capital and elsewhere.
It also led to the removal of the then NPF Government-led by Chief Minister TR Zeliang.
Notifying the ULB election programme on March 9, the State Election Commission said filing of nominations will start on April 3 and end on April 10. Scrutiny of nomination papers will be done on April 12 and 13 while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 24. Votes will be counted on May 19.
(Page News Service)