NTC says amount withdrawn is Rs 52.63 crores as against the original estimate of Rs. 43 crores
Kohima, September 12 (MExN): The foundation stone for an independent High Court in Nagaland was laid in 2007. Till date, however, not only has the building for the same not been completed, but the amount withdrawn for its construction has exceeded the original estimate by Rs. 9.63 crore!
Planned at the same time, states of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura have established High Courts and made them functional since 2013. Nagaland State continues to lag even on this count.
The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) today informed this in a press release after it filed an RTI to find out more about the project. It remained “perplexed” at this state of affairs.
“The new High Court building project for the state of Nagaland was approved by the Government and for which foundation stone was laid at Meriema by the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court Brijesh Kumar in 2007,” stated a press release issued by the NTC media cell today.
It further informed that in the same year, “similar foundation stones were laid for other 3 states namely, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura. The aforementioned 3 states had completed the projects and already established their respective separate High Courts since 2013.”
This compelled the NTC to file an RTI. Through it, they detected that Rs. 43 crore was estimated for the High Court project at Meriema. During 2009-2014, i.e., in 5 years, the Nagaland State Department of Law and Justice had drawn Rs. 41.62 crore and for the period from 2015 to 2017 an amount of Rs. 11.25 crores was drawn against the project. There had been 18 drawals from 2009 to March 2017, and the amount came to the tune of Rs. 52.63 crores as against the original estimate of Rs. 43 crores, informed the NTC.
“Whereas, to our utter amazement with this huge amount being incurred, so far only 35% was achieved on the ground. Beside, the Department of Law and Justice has resorted to availing loan from HUDCO for the same project,” revealed the Council.
The NTC stated that it is “highly perplexed” to observe that “the legal fraternity has opted to watch such questionable developments under their nose in silence.”
Urging the State Government to take a call to achieve the long awaited objective of justice, the NTC maintained that they are “raising the issue as the state is deprived of a separate High Court denying the rightful citizens of their benefits and facilities due to irresponsible behaviour of the people in authority.”
GHC Kohima clarifies on news report
The Registrar of the Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench, has clarified on September 13 that the foundation stone for the proposed building of a Nagaland State High Court was laid by Justice KG Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India, on May 21, 2007 in the presence of then Chief Minister and others. This correction was stated in a letter from the Registrar, Y Longkumer, with regard to NTC’s press release on the construction of said High Court, a news item on which was published on September 13.