Kohima: After four sittings, the last budget session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) was adjourned sine die on Thursday by speaker Sharingain Longkumer.
However, this left some legislators hoping for more progress on certain fronts. Senior members of Legislative Assembly Chumben Murry and Yitachu in conversation with EastMojo, explained that they expected more discussions and deliberations. “I was actually hoping that the session will see the tabling of the NLTP Act for amendment so that it can increase revenue, which the state needs,” Murry said during a discussion on the budget presented by CM Neiphiu Rio.
Explaining why the NLTP should have been discussed by legislators in the state Assembly, Murry said, “I don’t understand the stand of the Churches in opposing any move of the government to amend this infamous Act. This will increase our state’s resources. As the Government of the day, we should stand firmly on the ground reality that the NLTP Act has been more deleterious than being beneficial for the people and amend the act.”
MLA Yitachu was quick to point out that two issues: the railway line to Kohima and the Chiethu Greenfield airport at Kohima were left out. He said as Nagaland is the 16th state, the Centre should prioritise state development.
Yitachu also said that no mention was made of the inland waterways during the last budget session of the present state assembly. During the November Assembly session last year, Yitachu had questioned the status of Nagaland’s only inland waterways project over the Tizu-Zungki river, which was declared as National Waterway 101 in 2016.
The legislator also pointed out that no specific action plan or programme on identified trade centres, especially along the international border of Myanmar, was missed out during the session.
He said that these areas need to be taken up as they could provide a lot of gainful employment for the youth. “This sector needs to be seriously pondered as it will generate a lot of revenue for the state even to the extent of foreign exchanges,” he added.
Yitachu also suggested that more officers to oversee trade-related activities with the neighbouring country should be deployed to facilitate trade along the border.
Concerning the Chiethu airport, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio responded saying that for too long, it was discussed in the past. He informed that when consulted with the Aviation Minister, the state government was informed that the DPR for the project would cost around Rs 8-9 crore for which the Centre has prepared a DPR.
As for the inland waterways, he said that Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had informed that a study will be conducted by the Centre to check the viability of the project.
While the CM also gave responses to the queries raised by legislators who participated in the debate, no mention of the NLTP was made.
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