Dimapur, June 16: The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has expressed shock that Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio while addressing a press conference on June 15 had instead of instilling confidence among the people caught in the nightmare of the COVID-19 pandemic was rather talking about the State financial crisis and a bleak future.
In a press release, the NPCC communication department said this is unbecoming for a four term Chief Minister who is unable to inspire confidence despite all the power and resources at his disposal.
“Instead of briefing about the mounting state deficit and a near empty state exchequer, he must rather tender apology to the people of Nagaland for landing the state in such a miserable position as he has been the Chief Minister for 4 consecutive terms since 2003, except for his sojourn to Delhi as Lok Sabha MP in between,” it said.
The NPCC reminded that the DAN-I Government under his leadership had started off with a clean slate in 2003 and the then Finance Minister had even presented a surplus budget of Rs 18 crores while presenting State budget for 2004-05. After Rio directly took over the Finance portfolio in 2005, it has been a continuous downhill slide for the past 15 years, it alleged.
“The budget deficit projected at Rs 1652.64 crores is just a stage-managed figure for public consumption or else the actual deficit figures will be well over Rs 4000 crores, if the deficit as well as nonexistent money in Civil Deposit is taken into consideration,” it alleged.
Alleging that the “present miserable condition of Nagaland is all the creation of Mr Rio and his cronies who have relentlessly pursued the policy of gobbling whatever they could lay their hands and prospering out of it,” the NPCC said the few developmental activities that had taken place were also concentrated in their area of interest only to satiate their narrow vision.
“Though the NDPP makes a feeble attempt to shift blame, 17 years is long enough to develop the state if Mr Rio was really sincere in his thoughts and commitment to work for the people and develop the state,” it stated.
The NPCC alleged that during the past 17 years, there is total absence of creating avenues for employment and building infrastructures for revenue generation. The limited options available for increasing revenue generation are also overlooked as the focus is always on begging for additional funds from the centre, it alleged.
“State govt has only taken an easy recourse in imposing Covid Cess on fuel products, not realizing the overall cascading effect it is having on our economy. While other North Eastern states that attained statehood after Nagaland have made huge progress in revenue generation through creation of necessary infrastructures, Nagaland continues to languish far behind with those in power taking the excuse of unresolved Naga political problem to hide all their failures and massive corruption perpetrated,” it said.
The Congress party also alleged that while the public infrastructures keep deteriorating, the private infrastructures of the Chief Minister and his cronies in power have flourished unabated. “Their gleaming properties are a standout amidst the ruins of state infrastructure that adorns the landscape particularly in Dimapur and Kohima. The answer to huge deficit figures that the Chief Minister talks about will be found in these mushrooming lavish private and commercial properties of those in power,” it alleged.
Statinf that it is time for people of Nagaland to realize the extent of damage Chief Minister Rio and his cronies have done through their moneybag politics, the NPCC said anticipating change from those responsible for destroying Nagaland will be a farfetched dream. “Unless the public collectively voice out, Chief Minister will continue to only talk about deficit figures and poor financial health without bothering to fix the problem,” it added. (Page News Service)