State

KSC land issue: JVC shocked at govt ‘alternative arrangement’ assurance

DIMAPUR, JUN 9 (NPN) | Publish Date: 6/9/2019 11:52:37 AM IST

Jotsoma Village Council (JVC) has expressed shock over the assurance given by the state government to All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) to take up the issue of land encroachment at Kohima Science College, Jotsoma for the cabinet meeting scheduled on Monday and also to make an “alternative arrangement”.

This was contained in a press release issued by JVC council chairman Mego Nagi and secretary Pfüdolhoulie Rino. They warned that if the “alternative arrangement” meant shifting the college out of Jotsoma village’s jurisdiction, as demanded by ANCSU in the meeting with chief minister Neiphiu Rio and other officials on August 14, 2018, then such a decision would leave the village with no other option but to take back the land “both donated as well as acquired”, for which it should not be blamed. 

JVC recalled how 50 acres of Jotsoma community’s land were donated and another 131.78 acres acquired by the State Government at a “token compensation” of 0.03 paisa per sq ft in 1967-68. They said the villagers sacrificed their prime agricultural land in view of the request made by the government through officials like L. Lungalung, H Zopianga and T Haralu, on the assurance that a university would be established in the land. 

JVC also pointed to several proposals for establishment of the university received over the years but alleged that the state government either turned these down or shifted the location elsewhere for reason best known to the authorities concerned. 

The duo said the first proposal came in mid 1980s when NEHU proposed to establish Kohima Science College as a university college under it, along with Pachhunga College in Mizoram. The then authorities turned down the proposal, while Mizoram readily accepted and that today, Pachhunga University College in Aizawl under Mizoram University has become a model university college of not only the Northeast but throughout the country, they said.

The JVC leaders also said recalled that when a proposal for setting up Kohima Campus of Nagaland University came up in the late 1990s, a Site Selection Committee was set up by the government and had recommended Kohima Science College, Jotsoma as the site for the proposed Kohima Campus as the college had the basic infrastructure and congenial educational atmosphere. 

They also recalled that the district administration had, after negotiation with the villagers, fixed the rate of land compensation at Rs 40,000 per acre, and officially communicated to the village council by the then DC Kohima. 

However, the duo said that state government again shifted the site to its present location at Merema in 2003-04. They said JVC opined that the new site was perhaps better than Kohima Science College, Jotsoma both in terms of infrastructure and existing educational environment, important factors to be considered while choosing site for any educational institution.

They also said the rate of land compensation was cheaper than the one negotiated by the district administration with the people of Jotsoma village but added that JVC has no complaint whatsoever against shifting of the proposed site from Kohima Science College, Jotsoma to Merema.

The JVC leaders also said, another proposal for converting the college to an autonomous college was taken up by the authorities. They said that though the village’s contribution may have been minimal, the council still supported the proposal wholeheartedly and expressed its profound gratitude to the Union human resource development ministry for granting autonomous status to the college. 

Again, they pointed out that with granting of autonomous status to the college, the ways for upgrading the autonomous college to that of a deemed university have been opened. They said this will be beneficial for the future Naga Students and a fulfilment of the dreams of JVC forefathers who sacrificed their land. 

However, amidst all these, the duo said ANCSU took up the issue of encroachment of college land and had on April 24, 2018 issued a “shocking” statement warning that “vigorous agitation would include vandalising three government buildings” – Doordarshan Kendra, PHED and RCEMPA – located on the college land. 

They also said it was learnt that during a meeting with the chief minister, deputy chief minister, chief secretary and other officials on August 14, 2018, union leaders had threatened to dismantle the three government buildings and demanded shifting the college out of Jotsoma village’s jurisdiction. 

The JVC leaders wondered whether Kohima Science College, Jotsoma was the only college in the state facing land encroaching problem as being targeted by ANCSU, as if it was the only college whose land was encroached.

JVC leader urged upon the state government to clarify whether allotments were similarly made in other college lands that were acquired or donated for development of the colleges. Further , the JVC leaders contended that it was totally unfair to single out only Kohima Science College, Jotsoma. They reiterated that same yardstick should be applied to all colleges having land allotment and encroachment issues.

According to JVC leaders, land encroachment problem started due to “unabated allotment” of government acquired land to individuals, which the village has been taking up the matter with authorities since the early 1980s. They said a High Powered Committee (HPC) led by then higher & technical minister Prof T Chuba had on November 14, 1990 decided that “land belonging to Science College shall not be allotted to any organization/individual other than for the purpose of expansion of Science College”. 

Thereafter, JVC leaders pointed out that the government had issued as many as nine notifications banning allotment of land and in five of these notifications, it was notified that officials who had allotted land would be held responsible and disciplinary proceedings initiated against them. 

However, the two JVC leaders expressed regret that the HPC’s decision and the notifications banning land allotment, allotment of college land continued unabated till 2009. They said JVC was decided to reclaim lands donated for the institution for educational purposes due to such unabated land allotments.

 In this regard, they said the village council had already submitted representation to the government and clarified to the public through a press release on August 3, 2018 that it would take full responsibility to let the landowners get back their land, if the government did not cancel and evict all those allotted land after the HPC decision and take action against the erring officials, as per the notifications. 

They further pointed out that JVC banned all construction activities of both permit and patta holders as well as landowners reclaiming land in the area till further orders (vide a notification on August 21, 2018 that was published in all local dailies).

 

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