Kohima, November 28 (MExN): The Nagaland (PWD) Housing department on Saturday expressed shock to come across the proposal of Urban Affairs Department, Meghalaya Government for swapping of land where Nagaland Medical Lodge construction is ongoing (under construction) opposite of NEIGRIHMS, Shillong.
“Nagaland (PWD) Housing Department has all the legal papers basing on which land was bought on lease for 30 years and few item of works already executed. Therefore Urban Affairs Department, Meghalaya should give a serious thought on their proposal for swapping of land of Nagaland Medical Lodge with another plot of land after 8 years of the lease agreement,” Nagaland Minister for PWD, Housing and Mechanical, Tongpang Ozukum stated in a press release.
It meanwhile clarified that it is not an issue between Nagaland (PWD) Housing Department and Urban Affairs Department, Meghalaya but “It is a matter of trust and confidence between two governments.”
“We are yet to receive their proposal letter officially,” the release stated, adding that the letter was seen being circulated on WhatsApp.
“A proposal letter was written by Urban Affairs Department, Meghalaya dated 30th September 2020, addressing Principal Secretary, Home, Nagaland offering a new plot of land measuring 2.34 acres which is located half kilometre away from the present location and a fresh lease agreement to be signed again with government of Meghalaya. The Urban Affairs Department, Meghalaya also offers to bear the expenses of the works already executed at the Nagaland Medical Lodge including the boundary walls at the proposed new plot with the same specifications. But Nagaland (PWD) Housing Department cannot accept such proposals after 8 years of the lease agreement,” the release stated.
It also mentioned that a foundation stone laying programme was scheduled on July 11, 2018 for the commencement of the remaining works but it could not be held due to some local problems.
However, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya gave assurance to Chief Minister of Nagaland to resolve their local issues at the earliest and allow to go ahead with the programme as planned, it added.
Following which, Ozukum said he met Meghalaya CM, Home Minister, Minister in charge of Urban Affairs and some other leaders on the same issue.
In the second meeting with Hamletson Dohling, the then Minister, Urban Affairs Department on November 14, 2019, “unexpectedly, they proposed to swap the land citing some local issues. However, we made our stand very clear that their proposal is unacceptable since every procedure, right from beginning of acquiring the land were done legally and with mutual understanding,” Ozukum added.
He said that the proposal letter written by Urban Affairs Department, Meghalaya was a big surprise as they were expecting a positive response considering the discussions and negotiations done with Meghalaya Government on many occasions and most importantly, the assurance given by the Meghalaya CM himself followed by a declaration to go ahead with the proposed resuming of construction works at Medical Lodge by the then Home Minister, James Sangma during the 50 Years Celebration of Nagaland House, Shillong on October 26, 2019.
“We still hope and believe that Meghalaya Government will honour the lease agreement signed in 2013 and allow government of Nagaland to go ahead with the pending works without further delay,” Ozukum added.