Nothing to delete when everything has been omitted
Even as the associations and unions within three Municipal councils of Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung have affirmed not to participate in the urban local bodies (ULB) polls if the government failed to address their demand on the contentious clauses in the Nagaland Municipal Act (NMA) 2001, the state chief minister, Neiphiu Rio, on Wednesday asserted that there was nothing left to delete when everything had been omitted.
The unions had submitted a representation to the government requesting it to “delete” the clause “taxation on land and property” which was in the NMA 2001.
Interacting with media persons after thanksgiving cum felicitation for elected members of the party from Kohima Region to the 14th NLA organised by NDPP Kohima Region, Rio said, “look up for the word omitted in the dictionary, when everything is omitted there is nothing else to delete.”
Earlier, speaking at the programme, the chief minister recalled that during a consultative meeting with all the tribe hohos and political parties on March 9, 2022, the House resolved to hold the ULB election to which all those attending the meeting gave their consent to go ahead with the polls.
Rio pointed out that recent Supreme Court judgement dated February 13, 2023, had directed the State government to announce the process for ULB polls on or before March 9, 2023.
Therefore, after the new government took oath on March 7, he said the cabinet had a meeting following which a notification was issued on March 9 as directed by SC.
Rio said since it was court’s order to hold ULB polls, the issue could not be discussed in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
He urged the people to stay united on the issue as there could be divisions and misunderstandings.
He said the property tax had been amended and even if there were to be tax of any sort only the elected members would decide on it.
Rio said whatever was collected in the form of tax would be utilised to upgrade that particular town.
Since Nagaland was not following the directives till now, it had been missing out the grants and funds entitled to the state.
Rio said for a long time the Nagas were living in the villages, however, people have now moved into cities and towns and therefore should not impose village laws in urban area.
“We have to move forward if we want to catch up with the rest of the world especially in this 21st century world. We should not be left behind because of our reluctance to embrace change,” Rio said.
He requested the people not to be anti-establishment and that anything could be discussed when people speak out in unison.
He suggested that even though SC had, through its judgement, hinted that it was not ready to listen to the predicament faced by Nagaland government on the issue, if the people stay united and voice out together it would be heard even by SC.