DIMAPUR, JUNE 25: Alleging widespread financial irregularities under the present NDPP-led PDA Government in Nagaland, opposition NPF has urged Governor of Nagaland to invite a competent Central investigating agency to probe into “rampant misuse of public funds” in the State.
In a letter to the Governor, NPF Legislature Party alleged that the objective of PDA Government, under Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, is not to achieve developmental goals “but it is contract and supply oriented government for personal gain.”
“The State of Nagaland is in total pandemonium and mayhem due to various financial irregularities prevailing under the present day NDPP-led PDA Government”, alleged the letter signed by Opposition Leader TR Zeliang and 5 NPF MLAs – Imkong L Imchen, Yitachu, Dr Chumben Murry, YM Yollow and Kezhienyi Khalo.
‘Sub-standard COVID materials’
The NPF alleged that sub-standard materials to fight COVID-19 were purchased randomly with inflated prices and in the process “embezzling public funds in the name of fighting COVID.”
Such purchases, it alleged, were done through Table Tenders from “among pre-selected firms” without following procedures.
‘Cricket Stadium Sovima’
The NPF also alleged that the Cricket Stadium at Sovima, Dimapur is a never ending project and a source of personal income for the Chief Minister and his family by way of cost escalation with each passing year. The foundation stone of the stadium was laid in March 2006.
“Even the land initially donated for construction of the Cricket Stadium by current Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio was later compensated at a startling value of Rs 35 per sq.ft”, it alleged.
The NPF also questioned the “dynastic grasp” on the post of President of Nagaland Cricket Association by the incumbent Chief Minister. The CM served as the NCA president till 2019 and his son took over as president for the tenure 2019-2023.
Citing another “glaring example of how Rio has been exercising a free hand in corruption”, the NPF cited the construction of Multi-Disciplinary Sports Centre (Stadium) at DC Court area, Dimapur, allotted to Nibu Nagi over 15 years back by Rio, who was the CM then, and which remains incomplete till date.
On National Food Security Act implemented in the State since June 2016, the NPF alleged that several card holders in the State have at times received only half, or even lesser, of the entitled ration, and that too not every month, but on alternate months, or worse, after gaps of months together.
On Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) under which poor people are entitled to get 5 kg of rice or wheat per head per month free of cost as part of economic response to COVID-19, it rued that there is no preventive measures in place to check and avoid pilferage, mishandling, black marketing and profiteering.
Highlighting that techno-feasibility report for the proposed Greenfield Airport at Ruzhephema, under Dimapur District, was approved by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), the NPF claimed the PDA Government diverted it to Chiethu at Chiechama, which falls under the constituency of the Chief Minister.
The land at Chiethu measuring 645.2 acres was acquired in 2009 at the cost of Rs 8,06,50,000 by flouting official procedures and an additional 368.52 acres was purchased for Rs 9,58,15,200 at Chiethu, for which payment was done in July 2020 “when the State was and is passing through financial crisis and is finding it difficult even to pay the salary of Government employees and tackling the COVID pandemic”, it alleged.
The NPF reminded that Union DoNER Minister, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha in 2019, had said that the financial implication of site development at Chiethu was financially not viable.
The NPF lamented that the Medical College at Kohima remains inoperative till date although foundation stone for it was laid in 2014 at a cost of Rs 189 crores.
It expressed fear that the second medical college at Mon District approved by the Centre in September 2020 at a cost of Rs 325 crores may meet the same fate under the present Government if corrective measures are not initiated.
The Opposition also censured the failure of the State Government to secure further release of funds from the Centre for Kohima Smart City Project. So far a total of Rs 218 crores have been released from the total sanctioned amount of Rs 1000 crores.
This failure, the NPF alleged, has resulted due to the State’s inability to provide its share and also diversion of funds from the Kohima Smart City project to other projects “where the contractors are close aides of the Chief Minister”.
‘Rs 30 cr to private hospital’
The NPF further accused the PDA Government of awarding Rs 30 crores to CIHSR, a private hospital, in the guise of developing a 200-beded makeshift COVID hospital. It rued that despite the party’s questioning from which Head of Account the amount was awarded and whether Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) was floated, the Government has failed to give specific answers.
“Hospitals and Health Care centres in other districts of the State are willfully neglected and are in very poor condition yet the Government pays little or no heed to it and rather look for lucrative deals for personal gain which is beyond comprehension”, it alleged.
On COVID Cess and pro-rata cut, the NPF expressed dissatisfaction over the answers given by the Government.
In light of all this, the NPF demanded the Governor to invite probe by a Central agency into the various irregularities and accord sanction for befitting punishment to the culprits and erring officials at the earliest.
(Page News Service)