Sunday, April 14, 2024
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PDMGDVA on compensation issue

The step motherly treatment of the State Government on the pending cause of the Association, and also repeatedly playing around with the Hon’ble Court’s Contempt Order in r/o PIL 09/2019 filed by the Chakhesang Public Organization (CPO) need to be exposed before the public through media and also before the Hon’ble Court in upcoming hearing of the pending matter.
Failing to comply with the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court Judgment and Order, dated 30.01.2023, to release the compensation within 6 (six) months (ending 30.07.2023), the PIL Petitioners filed contempt and the first Contempt Order was issued on 03.10.2023. As a consequence of this Order the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH), Government of India accorded sanction of Rs. 60,94,36,685/- vide letter No.NH-12024/03/2023/NG/NE dated 27th October 2023.
Despite having received the Sanction Order, the State Government failed to give due clearance up to November end, so on moving the Court the second Contempt Order was issued on 07.12.2023 wherein the Court directed the MORTH and the State Government (quote)”to resolve the issues on or before the next date and place the same by way of the affidavits to be filed”. In the meantime on some pretext the State Government had written 3 (three) letters to the Ministry by (i) Commissioner & Secretary, Works and Housing on 23.11.2023, (ii) Chief Secretary, Nagaland on 21.12.2023, and (iii) T.R. Zeliang, Deputy Chief Minister on 12.01.2024.
Disregarding the first two letters, the Ministry wrote to the Regional Office (MORTH), Guwahati on 27.12.2023 (quote) “to release the sanctioned amount … as decided by the Hon’ble Court immediately and file an affidavit to this effect in the Hon’ble Court urgently…”, and a copy of this letter was served to the Commissioner & Secretary to GON, Works and Housing (quote) “with a request to cooperate with RO Guwahati in early release of payment.”
Accordingly the RO Guwahati released the first Cheque of Rs. 41,00,00,000/- to the account of the Deputy Commissioner, Phek on 5th January 2024 vide letter No. RW/GHT/DP/NG/SARDP/173/2010-2011/940. Again disregarding the Dy. CM’s letter of 12.01.2024, the RO Guwahati released the second Cheque of Rs. 19,94,36,685/- on 12th January 2024 to the account of the Deputy Commissioner, Phek vide letter No. RW/GHT/DP/NG/SARDP/173/2010-2011/956. Accordingly the DC, Phek had written to the higher authority on 31st Jan 2024 seeking necessary clearance for payment of compensation.
The third Contempt Order was issued on 23.01.2024 wherein the Hon’ble Court (quote) “grants one more last chance to resolve the issue and disburse the amount of compensation… It is made clear that no further opportunity shall be given to the respondents/contemnor for resolving the issue between the Ministry … as well as the Government of Nagaland,… If on the next date (i.e. 29.02.2024) the issue is not resolved, this Court will be constrained to pass necessary orders to the respondents/contemnor to disburse the compensation sanctioned by the Ministry … to the affected land owner”.
Shockingly it is discovered through RTI that the so called clarification required by the State Government from the MORTH and thereby delaying the time bound payment of compensation has no legal basis but plainly is a self-creation of just one or two otherwise responsible office holders in the State. The concerned Dy. CM’s press rebuttal which appeared in local print media on 27th Nov. 2023 (in response to the Association’s press release of 21st Nov. 2023) claiming that such a file (on compensation) has (quote) “never reached the Deputy CM’s Office for release of the funds”, is a blatant lie. On 3rd Nov. the file was put from the Office of the Commissioner & Secretary, Works & Housing for perusal of the Dy. CM (NH). The Dy. CM simply wrote (quote) “Discuss” in the note sheet, page 39 (File No. WH/NH-13/PIL No.9 2019). On 23th Nov. in the same file on the note sheet, page 42 he noted (quote) “We may write a letter reply to SCy MORTH at the earliest. Letter may go from CS/Com & SCy level based on the Court Order. In the meantime payment should be disburst to the beneficiaries”. Accordingly the matter regarding payment to beneficiaries was put up to him on 28th Nov. but he immediately took a u-turn and wrote in the same file in note sheet, page 43 (quote) “We may release payment after seeking legal opinion”.
The legal opinion submitted by the learned Addl. AG, Nagaland on 4th Dec. 2023 is quoted here “… the conditions of the MORT&H Sanctioned Order dated 27.10.2023 is in gross violation & contravention of the Hon’ble Court Judgment & Order (CAV) dated 30.01.2023 as there is no direction(s)/observation(s)/whisper(s) for recovery from the agency charges of the State PWD of Nagaland…Therefore, in my considered opinion the State Government Should make an endeavour/apprise the MORT&H at the earliest to waive the Agency Charges levied against the State Government before making payment …” The Association wishes to know from the learned Addl. AG what is stopping the State Government from challenging such gross violation, if so, in a competent court, and instead prolonging the agony of victims?
Basing on such legal opinion the Commissioner & Secretary, Chief Secretary and Dy. CM had written to the MORTH without any expected result. Even after the third Contempt Order of 23.01.2024, the Dy CM on 09.02.2024 has directed (quote) “We may request CM to write a letter to Union Minister MORTH referring to those 3 letters from C&S, CS and Dy CM”.(Note sheet page 3. WH/NH-13/PIL No.9/2019 (PART-I)
It is pertinent to mention here that in a fresh and similar PIL 01/2023 filed by Mr. Vizadel Yongo and 2 Ors of Kohima District, the Hon’ble High Court, Kohima Bench had disposed the matter by stating (quote) “that the question of recovery is between the State Government and MORTH and the same cannot be an impediment for disbursement of the assessed compensation amount to the land owners concerned, therefore, the respondent authorities, both the State Government as well as MORTH shall process the matter of according sanction and payment of the same … without any delay and without waiting for resolving their differences on the recovery of the sanctioned amount”.
In similar tone the Association demands from the State Government the release of the sanctioned amount to the entitled beneficiaries “without any delay and without waiting for resolving their differences on the recovery of the sanctioned amount”. Else after having learnt who is actually who and what is actually what, the Association may be forced to resort to taking drastic measures of protest and action deemed fit.
Pushovoyi Nyekha Kuvesa Medeo
Convener General Secretary
Chozuba Town