Adviser Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, Zhaleo Rio categorically stated that the State government would not deviate from its stand in holding election to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as notified.
He said this while speaking to mediapersons after the meeting among all 60 legislators, held at the Assembly secretariat (NLA) conference hall here Tuesday. The meeting was to brief the legislators on the stand of the government on ULB polls. Zhaleo reiterated that the government was prepared to hold the ULB elections and had therefore issued notifications and that it will not deviate away from.
It may be recalled that the state government had notified that the election to the ULBs with 33% reservation for women would be held on May 16.
With regard to various contentious issues in the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001, raised by various organizations, he said the department had already issued clarifications which have been made public and so nothing more remained to be said.
Asked whether the issue would be discussed in the ongoing assembly session, Zhaleo said the chief minister could make a statement to this effect in the House.
3 Municipals, 23 town councils firm on demand
Representatives of various associations and unions within three Municipal councils of Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung, held a meeting here Tuesday along with 23 town councils and reaffirmed they will not participate in the forthcoming ULB polls if the government failed to address their demand on the contentious clauses in the NMA 2001.
The meeting was jointly convened by Association of Kohima Municipal Ward Panchayat (AKMWP), Dimapur Urban Council Chairman Federation (DUCCF) and All Ward Union Mokokchung Town (AWUMT) supported by 23 town councils.
Later, addressing media persons, DUCCF president, Zasivikhi Zakiesato said the meeting resolved that Nagaland Municipal Act (NMA) 2001 should reflect the reality and practicality of the Naga people.
He said although State government had already clarified the main contention on taxation, land and property with regard to the usage of the words “omit”, “omitted and “deleted”; a memorandum requesting the government to use the word “deleted” would be submitted on Wednesday.
The three union and ward presidents had also submitted a joint representation addressed to principal secretary of Municipal Affairs Department. In the representation, Thejao Sekhose (AKMWP) Zasivikho Zakiesato (DUCCF) and Limanungsang (AWUMT), strongly urged upon the State government to review or redraft the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 according to its applicability with living standards of citizens of Nagaland and take into consideration the social, customary and traditional practice of Nagas, before it conducted election to urban local bodies (ULBs).
The three recalled that on March 10, 2023 reminder letter they had categorically mentioned various clauses that should be deleted from the NM Act.
“If the government has agreed to our demand, we place our demand for official publication in the official Gazette of the Government of Nagaland, a copy of the booklet to be distributed to all the municipal and town councils and for wide publication both in electronic and print media,” the representation stated.
Referring to the resolution adopted at the consultative meeting held at State Banquet Hall on March 9, 2022, they pointed out that none of the three municipal unions were invited to the meeting nor did they attend and for which they were not aware of the content of the resolution.
They further clarified that the three municipal unions in no way opposed the judgment of any court with regard to conduct of election to ULBs in Nagaland. The three said they were of the view that the State government should listen to the voice of the people – total review of the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001.
3-point resolution: Meanwhile, a meeting of municipal and town councils of various districts of Nagaland, including AKMWP, AWUMT and DUCCF, held at 2K Hotel, Kohima on March 21 under the aegis of Municipal and Town Council of Nagaland (MTCN), decided to stand together in the larger interest of Nagas and to uphold Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India.
After a thorough deliberation on the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, the meeting resolved to strongly urge upon the State government to review the entire content of the Act, its applicability, usages according to the reality and practicability of Naga people before holding ULB elections.
The house also resolved not to allow any form of taxation on property, i.e., tax on land and buildings in municipalities and towns.
In the event of the government failing to review the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, the meeting resolved that the three municipal unions and town councils would not participate nor allow any candidate to contest or file nomination. This was stated in a press release by Municipal and Town Council of Nagaland.