Kohima, Sept. 21: The Nagaland government has refused to pay suppliers and contractors who fished out some 40-year-old bills recently.
The Nagaland Contractors and Suppliers Union had sought payment of dues on these bills, which had surfaced after the union launched an agitation.
Chief minister Neiphiu Rio said several of them were 30 to 40 years old, dating back to the early 1970s.
He said the government would not succumb to pressure and reimburse the outdated and bogus bills.
The union has claimed that the government owed Rs 39.33 crore.
Rio said the government had not piled up any liabilities towards the union over the past 10 years. He was surprised that the union had rejected setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the so-called pending bills.
“Why are they pressing the government to release the bills but refusing an investigation into their bills?” he asked.
“Our society needs corrective measures,” he said and sought everyone’s co-operation, including that of Opposition members to streamline the system. The chief minister said there were several bogus and fraudulent cases in the state. “All bogus, bogus,” he said.
Coming down heavily on this practice, Rio said the prevailing system was eating into the fabric of Naga society. “I hope no bogus members are here. We are duly elected members,” he said. “We are willing to pay genuine bills but doubtful bills will be investigated. We need to bring culprits to book,” Rio said.
He said an investigation was on and, if necessary, the case would be handed to the CBI.
Governor Nikhil Kumar has also suggested handing over the case to the CBI and asked the government to release bills only after meticulous verification. He has suggested an investigation of the signatures.
Leader of the Opposition Tokheho Yepthomi has also asked the government for a CBI inquiry into the case. “We are prepared to hand over to the case to the CBI,” Rio said.
The impasse between the union and the government has been going on for over a month now but with the intervention of mainstream Naga organisations like, the Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers’ Association and Naga Students’ Federation, the agitators have decided to suspend their agitation till October 31.