Thirteenth Nagaland Legislative Assembly began

First day of the Twelfth Session of the Thirteenth Nagaland Legislative Assembly (DIPR Photo)

The Thirteenth Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) began on 20th September 2020 at the NLA Secretariat, Kohima. On the first day of the Twelfth Session, Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio made the obituary reference on the passing away of Late K. Sankaranarayanan, former Governor of Nagaland who expired on 24.04.2022. Leader of NPF Legislature Party, Kuzholuzo Nienu made the obituary reference on the passing away of Late Vejoyi Vero, former Member of Nagaland Legislative Assembly who expired on 22.07.2022. The House observed a minute silence and paid homage to the former Governor and MLA.

Starred questions:

MLA, Yitachu enquired on the status of waterways in Nagaland to which, Minister, Transport, Civil Aviation & Railways, Paiwang Konyak replied that the State Government has been pursuing with the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Govt of India for the development of Tizu-Zungki river (National Waterway No. 101) as an Inland Waterway Corridor.

As per the advice of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Govt of India, Nagaland Inland Waterways Board (NIWB) has been constituted, headed by Minister, Transport as the Chairperson and Chief Secretary as the Co-opted Chairperson. There are four rivers identified by IWAl as National Waterways viz:

1) National Waterway – 30: Dhansiri/Chate River
2) National Waterway – 31: Dikhu River
3) National Waterway – 32: Doyang River and
4) National Waterway – 101: Tizu-Zungki River.

On being asked by MLA, Dr. Chotisuh Sazo on the status of construction on Training Institute Building under SIRD at Chozuba Sub-Division, Minister, Rural Development, Metsubo Jamir replied that the work is in good progress with Administrative, Training and Classroom Block – 90%, Boys Hostel – 65 % and Girls Hostel – 1 %. Rs. 390.00 lakh is sanctioned for the project.

MLA Kuzholuzo Neinu asked on the works taken up by Tribal Affairs Department under Article 275 (1) within Phek district, to which Minister in-charge of Tribal Affairs Department, Temjen Imna Along replied that the following works were carried out, such as, 1) Digitization of Library & Classrooms in Phek Government College and Pfutsero Government College 2) Digitization and upgradation of office utilities at Tsunazho Polytechnic 3) Construction of Community Council Court at Zavema (DPR @Rs. 100 lakh is under finalization and work order yet to be issued (2021-2022); and 4) Construction of Guest House at Thipuzu (@ Rs 50.00 lakh). Works allotted to the Directorate of Higher Education @ Rs 26.26 lakh per unit (Rs 26.26 x 2) for implementation (2020-2021) and works allotted to the Directorate of Technical Education @Rs 41.66 per unit (Rs 41.66 x 1) for implementation (2020-2021).

MLA Yitachu asked on the policy of the Government to resolve the Adhoc and Contingency employees attaining retirement age, to which Chief Minister and Minister-in-charge of P&AR, Neiphiu Rio said that Adhoc and Contingency employees by their very nature, are temporary, and no policy is required to provide on their attaining retirement age.

MLA Kuzholuzo Nienu enquired on the land encroachment problem in Dimapur Airport, to which Minister-in-charge of Transport, Civil Aviation & Railways, P. Paiwang Konyak furnished the names of the encroachers – Inato Yeptho, Kughalu Sema, Hekevi Yeptho, Sheloka Yeptho, Linovi H. Zhimo, Tito Yeptho, Tokihe Chishi, Vinoka Chishi, Akaho Zhimo, Kakheho Yeptho, H. Inoto Murru, Shikai Tuccu, Toshili Sumi, C. Yang Khiamniungan, Kivikhu Kiho, Suhuto Chishi, Asuho Albert Sumi, Heito Sumi, M. Sensotemjen, Phushito, Hoshito Shohe and Hokashe. The State Government is putting a concerted effort to complete the formalities of handing over the land occupied by Assam Rifles and C.R.P.F. to Airports Authority of India, so as to enable the AAI to take up Airport Development work in time bound manner. A series of meetings had been held with the various stakeholders. Assam Rifles and CRPF authorities had agreed in principle to hand over the land to AAI. The final meeting for the handing and taking over of the land from the Assam Rifles and CRPF would be conducted upon submission of the final joint survey report from the appropriate authority.

On a query on how much funds were sanctioned under Smart City so far, the Chief Minister stated that the total amount sanctioned are, Government of India share – Rs. 245 Crore, State Share – Rs. 30 Crore, and the total amount utilized is Rs. 234.42 Crore.

On a query of whether the State has a policy on child adoption, Minister, Metsubo Jamir informed that rules for adoption is provided under Nagaland Juvenile Justice Rule 2017.

Minister-in-Charge, PWD (NH) replying to a query on whether any MoU has been signed between the Government and the company/NHIDCL/ contractors for maintenance of the existing road till the completion of the four lane road, stated that there is no such MoU signed between the Government of Nagaland and NHIDCL, and the main reasons for the delay given by NHIDCL were -unprecedented/unseasonal adverse, weather condition, shortage of bitumen, unprecedented rain, extremely adverse weather condition, landslides due to frequent rain, working constraints due to disturbance of locals/land issues/hindrances, COVID-19 restrictions, etc.

On being asked about the work status of State Capital Kohima Railway Line by MLA Yitachu, Minister-in-charge of Transport, Civil Aviation & Railways, Paiwang Konyak stated that the Dimapur-Dhansiripar to Kohima-Sechu Broad Gauge rail line is 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, with the total progress made being 48%. The 1st Phase of the Dimapur-Dhansiripar to Kohima-Sechu rail line has been completed and the final phase is targeted to be completed by 2026. The Shokhuvi Station, the 2nd rail Station in Nagaland was inaugurated by Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio on 26th August 2022. The Chief Minister also flagged off the Donyi Polo Express during the day. 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 caused delay in the completion of the works.

Kuzholuzo harps on resumption of oil exploration:

There is an urgent need to resume exploration and mining petroleum in the Nagaland, stated the Leader of NPF Party, Kuzholuzo Nienu while calling attention to matter of urgent public importance under rule -54 during the 12th Session of the 13th assembly on 20th September 2022.

Stating that oil is no longer considered to be primary source of energy for the future owing to climate change and advancement in technology, the world is shifting towards cleaner and sustainable & renewable energy. He also added that core oil companies like OIL, ONGC now shifting heavily towards production of clean energy, it is high time the state government take concrete steps to resume the oil and gas exploration and production in Nagaland before the “golden liquid” becomes redundant and loses its utility and thereby its market value. He further added that the use of the “golden liquid” is expected to drastically come down by the year 2035 throughout the world including India. There are even projections that by the year 2050 the use of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas would completely stop, Azo added.

To find a way for resuming oil and gas exploration activities in the state, Azo stated that the Union Minister for Petroleum initiated a bipartite agreement with the State Government, the MOU of which is expected to be finalized and signed very soon. Since Exploration activities may take an average of five to seven years, the mindset of the stakeholders including the State Government should be on monetizing the existing oilfields and get immediate return. It will be pertinent for the State Government, to formulate policies wherein it can have a Participating Interest (PI) of 10% to 15% in the already existing oilfields like Champang and Tissori.

Minister Geology & Mining Kashiho Sangtam also gave a brief status on petroleum & natural gas affairs in the Nagaland. He stated that petroleum exploration commenced in Nagaland during 1971 and oil was first struck in Changpang- Tssori in 1973. He further added that in Changpang 29 oil wells were drilled, however was suspended during May 1994.

The Minister stated that the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio held a meeting with Union Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas and subsequent meetings were held with Secretary Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Union Minster for PNG, GOI, at New Delhi. The Union Minister suggested the Government of Nagaland and the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas to come up with a Bipartite MOU to facilitate resumption of exploration and production of petroleum & natural gas in the state pending resolution of the matter in the High Court.

Minister Kashiho apprised the House that MoPNG has shared the Draft Bipartite MoU between MoPNG, GoI and Government of Nagaland and accordingly the State Government has forwarded the matter to the Advocate General Nagaland and is awaiting the reply.

Reporting on assent to bills:
Secretary-in-Charge, NLA Secretariat reported on the assent of the Governor of Nagaland to the following Bills:
i. The Nagaland Appropriation Bill No. 1 (Supplementary Demand for Grants) for the year 2021-2022.
ii. The Nagaland Appropriation Bill No. 2 (Demand for Grants) for the year 2022-2023.
iii. The Nagaland Village and Tribal Councils (Fifth Amendment) Bill, 2022.

Laying of reports/rules/regulations:
Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio laid on the Table a copy each of the Annual Reports/Rules/Regulations of the following Departments:

i) 53rd Annual Report (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019) of the Nagaland Public Service Commission.
ii) 54th Annual Report (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020) of the Nagaland Public Service Commission.
iii) 55th Annual Report (April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) of the Nagaland Public Service Commission.
iv) Audit Report by the Accountant General (Audit) Nagaland on the Accounts of Nagaland Khadi & Village Industries Board for the year 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.
v) Nagaland Staff Selection Board Regulations – 2020.
vi) Nagaland State Lotteries (Regulation) Rules, 2022.

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Home, Y. Patton laid on the Table a copy each of the following Rules:
i)The Private Security Agencies (Nagaland) Rules, 2022
ii)The Private Security Agencies (Private Security to Cash Transportation Activities) Nagaland Rules, 2022

Minister for Transport, Paiwang Konyak laid on the Table a copy of The Nagaland Motor Vehicles Department Service Rules (First Amendment) 2022

Presentation of assembly committee reports:
Chairman of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation (2022-2023), Y. Vikheho Swu presented a copy each of the following Reports:

i)Seventy-Eighth Report on Action Taken by the Government on the 71st Report on the Rules for regulating the procedure for Deputation and Absorption of the Central and State Government Officers, including Officers from the Autonomous Bodies and their Service Conditions under the Government of Nagaland, 2016.

ii)Seventy-Ninth Report on Action Taken by the Government on the 66th Report on the Nagaland Shops and Establishment Rules, 2015.

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