Australian company to provide air ambulance free of cost
Kohima, April 5: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today pooh-poohed the allegations of the Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) on siphoning of Rs 150 crore road project funds by the People’s Democratic Alliance government.
“As opposition they will bring complaints and raise issues which are not issues,” Rio said while responding to quick queries from media persons on the sidelines of a Thanksgiving Programme at Chiephobozou ground here organized by Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDDP) 11th Northern Angami-II Assembly Constituency in honour of his success in the recent State Assembly.
“The question of diversion of funds meant for road projects does not arise as there were some money which was not utilized,” he said.
Rio went on state that for those works (which NPF claimed) there is no administrative approval and no work orders issued so how can it be diversion of funds.
Asked on the reported works being completed in some areas by the contractors as cited by the NPF, Rio asked, “without issuance of work orders, how can they do that?”
The Chief Minister also revealed that a private company from Australia as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has proposed to provide air ambulance in interior areas of Nagaland free of cost, provided the villagers agree to part with 500 meters of land for construction of short runway for landing of air ambulance.
He said that a state level committee has been set up to oversee the matter while the Australian company is coming this month to discuss with the government.
It is a welcome step as they will bring their own plane and pilot and give free ambulance service, the only condition is villagers should give the land, Rio said.
With regard to construction of the runways, Rio said a combined effort would also be made by the state government through the VDB fund by allocating some grants while the project will be owned by the community.
He also revealed that on April 24 next, the State would be observing Communitisation Day where the VDB allocations and state matching grants would be distributed, which was not given for 2-3 years.
On the renaming of Indira Gandhi Stadium to Dr T Ao Stadium, Rio clarified that no notification is out because it is only a proposal, which was recommended. But now since there are complaints the matter would be reviewed and further decision would be taken, he said.
Rio also revealed that during his last tenure as Chief Minister the government had acquired a land in Seithekema, Dimapur for construction of Dr T Ao Football Academy and an amount of Rs 90 lakh was released as token money. But after he left the previous government had made a mess of it and shifted the academy to Niuland and the proposal could not get through, Rio disclosed.
But now, he said, that the NEC has given Rs 13 crore and Tata Trust another Rs 15 crore as CSR while the foundation stone for the Academy at Siethiekiema will be laid this month.
Asked about appointment of all the 20 PDA MLAs as advisors and political party leaders as chairman of government undertakings, Rio said, “everybody has to work and they will be drawing their salary from the Assembly… MLAs got elected to work for the people so why should they be kept hiding”.
On NIA investigating the terror funding in Nagaland, Rio said, “NIA comes without the permission from the State government when they are convinced with certain reports without any consultation with the state government and I believe they have collected lot of documents from various departments”.
“It is their job,” he quipped adding that “NIA started investigation in 2016, and I am not aware of the initiatives of the then government but today the government has taken up some process”. (Page News Service)