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Zeliang seeks one-time grant

Kohima, Aug. 12: Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang has sought a one-time grant from the Centre to tide over the state’s financial crisis.

The Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), led by the Naga People’s Front (NPF), came to power with promises of good governance, transparency, accountability and an early solution to the Naga political problem. But after 11 years in power, hopes and aspirations of people are fading away as none of the promises has been fulfilled.

People are increasingly getting frustrated for want of governance in the state.

The state is facing a financial crisis and going by indications, the BJP-led NDA government is unlikely to bail out the state till it promises good governance.

Zeliang, after assuming office on May 24, has been requesting the Centre for funds, but false assurances of good governance, transparency and accountability have not only angered the people of Nagaland, but also peeved the Centre.

The BJP leaders in the state are also pessimistic. The president of the state unit of the BJP, N. Chuba Ao, said the Centre may not be generous this time.

The recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General has revealed misappropriation of funds, including that for local area development, by government departments.

Most of the schemes have been implemented only on paper. The Opposition Congress said granting funds or bailing out the state is not a problem for the Union government be it the Congress or the BJP, but the real issue is governance.

Former Nagaland PCC president and AICC member K.V. Pusa said corruption had ruined the state. He said central governments were generous, but non-governance had projected a grim picture of the state government.

The NPF, the main constituent of DAN, is also not in one voice when it comes to graft. NPF insiders have admitted largescale corruption during the rules of DAN-I and II.

Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio was chief minister for two terms. He has assured people to sincerely work at the Centre to ensure more funds for the development of the state.

The last Lok Sabha election has placed Rio in an uncomfortable position. Going by all indications, Rio has less leverage in New Delhi as of now.

An NPF source said in March Rio’s government had withdrawn Rs 300 crore from the state’s exchequer.

The leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Tokheho Yepthomi, said DAN is only ruling the state, but not governing.

He said the state government is in a mess now.

It remains to be seen whether Zeliang could govern the state with a political will and curb corruption.