KOHIMA, Jun 23 (NEPS): The five tribal Hohos – Phom Peoples’ Council, Sumi Hoho, Chakhesang Public Organization, Ao Senden and Konyak Hoho – have come down heavily on the indifferent attitude and the step-motherly treatment to the people of Nagaland. They said by not resuming the construction of two laning road projects in the State, the general public started resorting to agitations, bandhs, etc. crippling the normal life activities in the State. Such construction works (earth cutting) which was going on in full swing, had come to a standstill from 2012 on the pretext of non-approval of Revised Estimate (RE) by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H).
This was stated in a Joint Memorandum signed by H Leisha Phom, President, Phom Peoples’ Council; Toniho Yeptho, President, Sumi Hoho; Kekhwengulo Lea, President, Chakhesang Public Organization; Imolemba Jamir, President, Ao Senden and Manlip Konyak, President, Konyak Hoho submitted to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi through State Governor PB Acharya on Thursday at Circuit House, Dimapur.
They reminded that Nagaland had still poor connectivity even after 52 years of statehood and said, “Due to its lack of resources, the State government and the public at large are fully dependent on the Central Government’s assistance for development as well as maintenance of the road connectivity in the State.”
It said the projects for the construction of 2 (two) laning roads from (1) Mon-Tamlu-Merangkong; (2) Longlen-Changtongya; (3) Phek-Pfutsero; and (4) Chakabama-Zunheboto under SARDP-NE for a total length of 329 kms were sanctioned by MoRT&H. The project was a “dream come true” for the people at large and also it would be for the improvement of the socio-economic condition of the region.
The Joint Memorandum said the competent authorities had allotted the work to a Hyderabad-based company, M/s Maytas – Gayatri (JV) and the construction work (earth cutting) was going on in full swing. “However, it had come to an abrupt standstill from June 2012 on the pretext of non-approval of Revised Estimate (RE) by MoRT&H,” it said.
The five tribal Hohos had, now, brought to the notice of the Prime Minister saying that during the passage of time, there was no development and as the project was abandoned, it ultimately led to blocking the lifeline of five districts as a result innocent public had been badly affected.
Despite submitting numerous representations at regular intervals amidst hue and cry of the common people, the five Hoho chiefs disclosed that the authorities, without giving any justification, turned a deaf ear to all pleas and sufferings and hardships of the publics. Having no alternatives, the affected parties had moved a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), they added.
They further stated that after a gap of more than two years, which was reported to be the grace period given to the authorities to approve and sanction the Revised Estimate (RE) of the Project, the Court had appointed an Independent Commissioner with direction to submit a detailed report Court after site inspection. Accordingly, relying on the inspection report, the Court had disposed the PIL by Judgement Order on October 13, 2015, with specific directions to the respondents to do the needful within a month’s time. Yet, no development was forthcoming and the publics were continuously facing “untold miseries and hardships.” The people should not be made to suffer in such a manner in a welfare state, they added.
It also mentioned that SARDP works in all other Northeastern States including BRO, the RE with higher Schedule of Rates had been approved by the Ministry without delay. The five Hoho chiefs expressed surprise as to why the Government of India was giving “step-motherly treatment to the people of Nagaland.” “The action of the Government is sheer denial of democratic ethos, defeating the very essence of democracy, ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people,” they said.
Terming as “unfortunate” the previous Government’s failure to pay attention to the people’ pleas and hardships, the five Hoho chiefs in their Joint Memorandum to Modi said the people had high hopes and expectations on him that his Government would “definitely acknowledge” and deliver justice.
While sending out with a strong warning that if the matter was not immediately attended to, the leaders of the five Hoho said they would be compelled to take their own course of action and in the eventuality, the Government should be solely held responsible.
They, however, reminded that any untoward incidents could be resolved only by resuming the construction of the road project which would be possible only by sanctioning the RE that was still pending in the Ministry (MoRT&H).