Tuesday, July 5, 2022

DC Mon, Longzang villagers on VDB fund issue

Deputy commissioner (DC) Mon Thavaseelan K has denied the claim made by Longzang villagers in a press release that they had met on May 3 with a plea not to release MGNREGA funds.
Clarifying that none had met him that day with the request, he told Nagaland Post that the lie was tantamount to defamation and that he had warned them that he could file a case against them for this. On the allegation that no action was taken because politics was involved, the DC claimed that upon receiving a letter from the complainants that funds were misused, he had immediately stopped all fund release that were routed through Village Council (VC) and Village Development Board (VDB) through an order passed in February 2021.
He said the complainants had given a letter in August 2021 stating that there were not happy with the selected VC members and wanted to be represented in the council as well. Accordingly, he said it was ensured that seven out of 14 members in the VC were from the complainants’ side, besides ensuring equal representation for the complainants so that they could check the work that was being carried out by the VC/VDB.
Thavaseelan claimed that the entire villagers of Longzang had appreciated and thanked the Mon district administration for ensuring equal representation for them in VC.
In October 2021, the Rural Development Department had written a letter requesting for release of funds to Longzang village as it was affecting the performance of the entire block and would lead to a situation where funds for other villages would not be released or will be delayed for a very long time. The Project Director also reiterated the same in his letter in December 2021 wherein he requested that the department be allowed to release funds to Longzang since the entire block was suffering.
In the light of this, the DC said funds were released only towards the end of March 2022.
With regard to the allegations of misuse, Thavaseelan said he had written to the complainants to submit specific details of misuse of funds amounting to Rs 4.79 crore. However, he claimed that the complainants did not have any details on misuse of Rs 4.79 crore and only levelled allegations that were unverifiable.
Meanwhile, Longzang villagers asserted that they had no objection to the DC filing a defamation case against them as they could not curtail the right guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
Claiming that the DC had stated of filing a defamation against them during a meeting involving him, Phomching block development officer (BDO) and others on May 13, the villagers said they had submitted a letter the following day that they had no objection in this regard.
They reiterated their claim that since 2020 they had been appealing to the DC repeatedly about the misuse of funds by releasing money without work by ignoring the grievances of people as politics was involved. They requested him to reveal who was involved and pressurising him in discharge of his duties as a district head.
They further claimed of having approached then Phomching SDO (Civil) Eleka, who however relieved herself from her position for reasons best known to her.
They said the expenditure list read out by VDB secretary Ngame at the DC chamber on May 13 was rejected by the people and a written letter was submitted to the DC and Phomching BDO requesting a deposit of Rs 31,94,520 in the bank accounts of beneficiaries within 15 days, failing which they would take further appropriate step.
On the other hand, the villagers expressed their gratefulness to governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi for his decision to set up an enquiry committee to probe alleged misuse of funds under Rural Development Department at the village meant for developmental activities and his order to submit the report within 15 days.
They villagers said they were eagerly waiting for the enquiry team to reach the village at the earliest, while also requesting the chairman and members of the committee to come well prepared for days as the people had bundles of work orders in their hand received through their RTI letter of October 16, 2021 and that every work had to be spot verified whether the work was done or not.
They also urged Phomching BDO to produce all clearance copies, completion certificates, Geo-tag photo copies from 2010 to 2022 for transparency as the media persons would be present during the verification by the enquiry committee. This was stated in a press release by Kaiwang and Tahmao on behalf of the villagers.


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