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Nagaland to sue Punjab Dy. Speaker
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUL 10 (NPN):
Published on 11 Jul. 2009 12:46 AM IST
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Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio on Friday informed that it was contemplating filing a defamation suit against Punjab Deputy Speaker, Rana Mashud Ahmed for defaming the state with misinformation over the alleged Nagaland quota Coal Scam. “This is wild allegation .... bringing shame to Nagaland”, Rio told the assembly during a discussion over the allegations of state share coal scam which were reportedly diverted to Punjab. Rio said he would also personally write to Ahmed. He also informed that the state government had already constituted a departmental enquiry team to enquire into the alleged scam. The matter was earlier brought to the assembly through starred question No 5 raised by S.I Jamir on the first day of the budget session. During the discussion, chief minister, Neiphiu Rio flashed out a letter purportedly written by Punjab Deputy Speaker Rana Mashud Ahmed and submitted to the Prime Minister Office. In the letter, Rio said Ahmed claimed that Nagaland has no requirements of coal since “there are no factories” in Nagaland. He also claimed that the coal allotted to Nagaland by the Ministry of Coal under Small and Tiny Consumer Quota scheme during 2006-07 meant for use by consumers whose annual requirement did not exceed 500 MT in Nagaland was diverted through the connivance of officials from Food and Civil Supplies Nagaland, Coal India Ltd and North East Frontier Railway and sold in open market in Ludhiana, Punjab. Ridiculing the claim, Rio dwelt in detail the facts and figures on the state requirement and shares and clarified that during 2007-09 the total allocation of Coal to Nagaland was 1,42,000 MT and that the state had received little over 70,358.62 MT against the allotted quota of 1,42,000 MT. The chief minister questioned as how a person in Punjab will be aware of the actual ground reality in Nagaland.. Since the state did not have resources, a transporting agency was appointed to collect the state’s share and transport it to the state and distribute the coal to the Small and Tiny industry consumers in Nagaland. Rio also claimed that the requirement of the state was much higher which presently stood at around 2.5 lac MT annually, but due to certain problems, the state put up its demand at half of its actual requirement. The chief minister further stated that Nagaland was not getting its requirement of coal allocation adding that there were industries which are in need of the ministry’s coal allocation. Brick factories, mostly based in Dimapur and the foothill region use the maximum coal in brick production. The Opposition brought the matter to the house and also claimed that the CBI which had investigated into the scandal had submitted a report in which it had named 9 persons including a top ranking officer from the state Food & Civil Supplies Department, officials from NEF Railway, Coal India Ltd, Director of M/s Seikedima Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd. Chumukedima, Dimapur; Naveen Kumar Gupta alias Naveen Singhal and Director of M/s Mahalaxhmi Continental Ltd. Gali No. 8, NN Beltola, Guwahati. Earlier, Opposition members K.L Chishi, I. Imkong and Joshua Sumi who took part in the discussion ridiculed the state government over the alleged scandal and demanded that stern action be taken against those culprits involved for defaming the state and the Nagas as a whole. The Opposition members also requested the state government to find out its actual requirement of coal and get its shares and distribute to the Small and Tiny consumers in the state as most of them buy coal from the open market.

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