Tuesday, September 27, 2022

12th session of 13th NLA underway

The first day of the Twelfth Session of the Thirteenth Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) began on September 20 with chief minister Neiphiu Rio making obituary references to the passing away of former Nagaland governor K. Sankaranarayanan while NPF Legislature Party leader, Kuzholuzo (Azo) Nienu made obituary reference on the passing away of former legislator Vejoyi Vero. The House observed a minute silence and paid homage to the former Governor and MLA.
Govt to review reservation policy: Leader of the house and chief minister Neiphiu Rio informed the house that the cabinet has decided to review the job reservation policy after the completion of the census and bring in a new policy.
He was replying to a starred question by NDPP legislator Yitachu had sought information on Technical posts which do not provide backward reservation for recruitment.
Rio informed the house that the Cabinet had decided to review the reservation policy since some areas and tribes needed to be added, while some had to be removed and also decrease or increase the quota accordingly.
Rio, who is also the minister in-charge of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (P&AR) department, said that “under the standing policy of the State government vide order No. APPT-18/6/67 dated 06.07.1973, 20% of Gazetted/Technical posts were unreserved where reservation for any category were not provided for recruitment.
He said reservation for both the Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland and the Backward Tribes were against the 80% of the Gazetted/Technical posts.
Other than the technical posts, 37 percent of job reservation was given to the backward tribes in the state.
Airport land encroachment: Minister for Transport, Civil Aviation, Railways & Land Resources, P. Paiwang Konyak on Tuesday highlighted the land encroachment issue that has stalled expansion of Dimapur airport.
Replying to a starred question by NPF legislature party leader, Kuzholuzo (Azo) Nienu on whether there were any land encroachment problems at the Dimapur airport, Paiwang Konyak said there were such issues and the district administration had issued eviction order in December 21, 2019 to 22 individuals from Dag No 38 & 40 of Diphupar Village i.e, land falling within the Dimapur Airport.
Before eviction could be carried out, the Gauhati High Court principal bench ordered to maintain status quo. However, the order was later modified vide order dated December 4, 2020.
In this regard, the deputy commissioner issued an order on December 11, 2020 directed the 22 persons to vacate the land covered by Dag No. 38 & 40 of Diphupar Village (Dimapur Airport) on or before December 17, 2020, Paiwang stated.
Since a case has been filed by the individuals, the state government had also moved a petition for revision int the High Court and the matter was yet to be disposed off.
Paiwang said that if the ruling was in favour of the government, the eviction would be carried out and the land would be handed over to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for expansion of Dimapur airport.
Further, also informed that the state government has put a concerted effort to complete the formalities of handing over the land occupied by Assam Rifles (AR) and C.R.P.F. to Airports Authority (AAI), so as to enable them, to take up the airport development in timebound manner.
After a series of meeting held between the stake holders, the AR and CRPF authorities, had agreed in principle to hand over the land to the AAI and the final meeting for handing and taking over of the land would be carried out upon the submission of the final joint survey report from the respective authority.
Supplementing this, chief minister Neiphiu Rio said the encroachment to the airport was posing a great danger to all those people who travel by air as there was only 2.3 km of runway space.
He said the danger level rises when it rained making the runway slippery and unsafe for planes to land. Rio, however, said that the matter was now in the court and that the government was hopeful that the case would be settled soon.
Four-lane project struggling to complete: Responding to a starred question by legislators Chotisuh Sazo and Kuzholuzo Nienu, chief minister Neiphiu Rio said the four-lane road project announced by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in October 2003 was still “struggling to be completed even after a span of 12 years although it was the first four-lane road in the Northeast.
He further mentioned that the reason behind the State government keeping projects in cold storage was due to land acquisition problems and demand for high compensation from landowners.
He also attributed the delay of work under package-III to unprecedented rains, extreme adverse weather conditions, landslides due to frequent rains, working constraints due to disturbance of locals, land issues, hindrances and COVID 19 restrictions.
Rio remarked that the answers provided by the department were not convincing and that the department had to be more responsible as the reasons stated were not the way answers were supposed to be laid.
Rio lamented that despite the intervention by Union Minister of Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Nagaland governors over the years, the four-lane road was still not completed.
He commented that at this rate, Kohima bypass road was also bound to fail as land had not been given to National Highways and Infrastructure Development Ltd (NHIDCL).
He therefore urged civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and contractors to have a meeting with landowners and find a way to resolve the issues which would help in developmental activities.
Meanwhile, Planning & Coordination, Land Revenue & Parliamentary Affairs minister Neiba Kronu said it was time for legislators and the people to take to the streets to raise their voice against non-completion of works.
He mentioned that Package-I, which started from Dimapur, had achieved 96.76% while 97.28% had been completed under Package-II. Similarly, work progress under Package-III near Kohima was only 72.72% before the previous contractor Gayatri Projects Limited (GPL) were terminated.
Although various reasons were cited for the delay in completion of the work, Kronu questioned why the work progress under Package-III could not be achieved while the other two were almost completed.
With the work allotted to Oasis Projects Ltd on September 1, 2021, he said 28.06% progress had been achieved so far. But as the contractor had abandoned the project, NHIDCL had scheduled a meeting in Delhi on Tuesday, coinciding with the Assembly session.
Construction however was going on and maintenance and repair work worth Rs 8.21 crore had been allotted to T Tachu & Co on August 29, 2022. So far, the work progress was 5%, he added.
He remarked that it was time for all to go to the streets and not allow NHIDCL or others to treat the people of Nagaland “poorly”.
Meanwhile, in a written response to a starred question from Dr Chotisuh Sazo and Kuzholuzo Nienu on whether any MoU had been signed between the State government and the company/NHIDCL/contractor for maintenance of existing road till the completion of the four-lane road, the chief minister clarified that no such MoU was signed.
On why the roads were not maintained, he explained that the road was maintained by maintenance contractor at the risk and cost of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor as per the provisions of contract agreement and that EPC contractor was responsible for maintenance of the existing road.
Rio also shared data on the total amount of work order along with the name of the contractor(s): under package-I of the road project, total amount of work order was Rs 387 crore and EPC was allotted to M/s Ramky – ECI (JV) with the appointed date on 16.09.2016 and scheduled completion date on 15.09.2019. The EOT for the package was due to the unprecedented rain, extreme adverse weather conditions and COVID restrictions.
For package-II, the total amount of work order was Rs 339.55 crore allotted to Ramky-ECI (JV) with the appointed date on 03.08.2016 and scheduled completion date on 02.08.2019. EOT-II for the package was given as unprecedented rain, extreme adverse weather conditions and non-shifting of HT towers.
As for Package-III, the total amount of work order was Rs 111.19 crore and the work was allotted to M/s Oasis Projects Limited with the appointed date on 01.09.2012 and scheduled completion date on 31.08.2022. EoT for Package-III had not been granted yet to the EPC contractor, he added.
For the maintenance of vehicular traffic while the road was under construction, he said the EPC contractor in coordination with district administration was responsible for the same.
Kohima rail connectivity by 2026: State Transport, Civil Aviation & Railways minister P Paiwang Konyak on Tuesday informed the State Assembly that state capital Kohima would be connected with the railway network by 2026.
He was responding to a starred question by NDDP MLA Yitachu on the status of State Capital Kohima Railway line.
Paiwang said that the Dimapur-Dhansiripar to Kohima-Sechu Broad Gauge rail line was being taken up in three phases- Phase – I (from 0 to 17 Km) 100% progress; Phase- 2 (from 17 to 44%): 65% progress and Phase- 3 (from 44 to 82.50 %): 12% progress.
Altogether, 48 per cent works have been completed, he said.
Paiwang said that the delay in acquisition of land, heavy and long monsoon season and short working season, non-existence of approach road to the project site, and the COVID-19 lockdown had caused delay in the completion of the works.
He also informed that the state government has proposed extension of passenger train services from Dimapur railway station to Tuli in Mokokchung district and Naginimora in Mon district.
Forest land: Meanwhile, responding to another query by Kuzholuzo on whether any private land had come under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, Environment, Forests & Climate Change minister YM Yollow in a written reply said as per Supreme Court order of December 12, 1996, the Forest (Conservation) Act was applicable to not only “Forest Land” as per section 2 of the Act but also included “Forest” as understood in the dictionary meaning. Subsequently, it had been clarified that any area recorded in any government record irrespective of ownership would invite applicability of the Forest (Conservation) Act.
He said the State government had on July 3, 1986 extended the Forest (Conservation) Act to government reserved forests and such other forests and Wildlife Sanctuaries under the control of the State government.
On whether the government occupied land came under the Forest (Conservation) Act, Yollow said as per the State government’s notification of July 3, 1986, forests under the control of the State government came under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1986.
Ladn port: Deputy chief minister Y Patton, in a written reply to Yitachu’s query on whether any land was identified for land port development, said no place had been identified for the purpose so far for development of the same, in the manner functional on international borders in certain States and created, maintained and managed by Land Ports Authority of India, a statutory body working under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
On what was the department’s future plan for land port development, Patton said at present there were no such plans. However, there was a proposal for setting up a land custom station at Avangkhu, Phek from the Industries & Commerce Department, which was pending with the Centre.