22nd December, 2015
If the extravagant Hornbill festival organized by the state government and the opulence of some section of society is any indication, it is hard to digest that the State Government is facing a serious resource crunch. The Rs.1500 Cr revenue deficit cannot be the excuse to keep depriving the most important sections of our society, that is, the teachers, the students and the nurses and doctors of their salaries and thereby livelihood. If indeed the State Government is serious about their plight, and if indeed there is a resource crunch, it should start implementing austerity measures without waiting for Central Government bailout, namely:
- Auctioning off all the Government SUVs, namely the Toyota Fortuner costing Rs.25 lakhs apiece, attached to almost all the legislators and the top bureaucrats. The open auction inviting bidders from neighboring states should easily solve the problem of non-payment of salaries and scholarships.
- Henceforth, only the Chief Minister and the Governor should be allowed usage of police escorts. This will not only save fuel and reduce maintenance costs but will also free the police personnel for security related duties. The concept of district magistrate officials and top police officers with their assorted DBs and police personnel flooding the highways during the movement of the CM and Governor is a wasteful colonial hangover exercise which should be immediately done away with.
Very importantly, the excuse of constraint of funds fools nobody since the salaries of RMSA teachers, Hindi teachers, NRHM employees and the scholarships are all centrally funded and the Central Government has either released all their pending dues or is waiting for the State to pay their 10% share.
Governance is about serving justice, in this case, justice for its employees and the student community. Likewise, the campaign of Nagaland Timber Traders Union (NTTU ) for free and fair trade practice is a campaign for justice and equality.
The NTTU representing the business interests of the large but marginalized timber community has consistently raised the issue of biased allotment of train wagons- used to transport timber and its products to outside markets, due to the allotments being controlled by a syndicate of tight - knit non-local community masquerading as 'commission agents' and local politicians amply helped by NPGs. So far the government has kept silent on the issue.
The need of the hour is for the apparently devout Christian politicians of Nagaland to seriously dwell on their roles as harbingers of justice. Then celebrating Christmas should have some meaning.
Media Cell, ACAUT Nagaland.