Following the PDA felicitation program for the NDPP councilors-elect at Mokokchung Town Hall on July 6, 2024, the Mokokchung Press Club held a press conference with NLA Speaker Sharingain Longkumer and Advisor Temjenmenba.

sharingain temjenmenba mokokchung
NLA Speaker Sharingain Longkumer and Advisor Temjenmenba

When asked about the myriad challenges Mokokchung faces, ranging from water scarcity and a poor healthcare system to people migrating from Mokokchung to Kohima and Dimapur for education, and asked what the 10 elected MLAs of Mokokchung have been doing and their achievements so far, Nagaland Legislative Assembly Speaker Sharingain Longkumer stated that the ten elected legislators from Mokokchung are “very unanimous” in addressing those issues, particularly concerning healthcare, socio-economic development, and water distribution.

Longkumer said, “We all understand those issues, but what we have to understand is that the municipal elections to the ULB have happened after more than 20 years. In their absence, there were some technical issues we encountered last tenure when I was serving as the Chairman of the District Planning Commission. They wanted distribution within the set municipal limit to become the responsibility of the municipality.”

He emphasized that the felicitation program for the entire Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the ULBs held today gives new hope for a fresh start, stating, “Now that the municipality election is conducted, elected, and installed, it is the councilors-elect who will frame the rules on how to proceed by forming a body to look into all the amenities required by the public. One thing at a time.”

When asked what the alternative would have been if the ULB election had not been held and if the responsibility did not fall on the MMC, Longkumer replied that the government operates within a constitutionally provided, democratically established system. He explained that the government cannot function outside this system because of uncertainties regarding the diversion of budget utilization. Therefore, he said, unless the system is reformed from within, people need to find a way to understand the issue.

Longkumer noted that there are many issues that need addressing, and often the system is not appreciated enough to resolve these issues effectively. He cited the example of the water scarcity issue, where the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) was considerate enough to connect the Sangtemla reservoir to the district hospital, despite it being outside their jurisdiction, to ensure that patients and the public did not suffer.
This, he said, is an example of how the government can step forward to address problems.

Advisor Temjenmenba also highlighted that during one of the DPDB meetings he attended, the issue of water scarcity in Mokokchung town was discussed. He recalled that the PHED was instructed to prepare a detailed estimate for augmenting the water supply in Mokokchung. At the next meeting, he was informed that the estimation work was completed and is under submission to the government.

“And I am sure, under some central projects, the scheme is being pursued, and with or without the ULB elections, that will continue. Once the project is approved by the central government, we can rest assured that the water supply to Mokokchung will be settled.”

Advisor Temjenmenba also said that as of now, all the 10 MLAs from Mokokchung are together, going hand in hand adding, “We see that our district does better on all fronts”.

“Our Chairman DPDB has also suggested one thing which is to have a survey to have a Human Development Index so that we know pointers on where we need to improve. Unless we have hard data in our hand, we will not be able to find out which directions to go, so, once we get hold of this data, I am sure everyone will contribute and we can find better ways to improve,” he added.

Here’s how the elected MLAs from Mokokchung addressed some of the district’s issue

MMC Complex
Following a devastating fire that razed two floors of the MMC Shopping Complex in Mokokchung on 3 February 2024, elected NLA Speaker and Chairman of Mokokchung DPDB have detailed their initiatives in response to the incident. Addressing inquiries about their actions, the Speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) expressed deep concern over the impact on local entrepreneurs.

“We are deeply pained by what has happened in the MMC Shopping complex. It has affected a lot of our entrepreneurs. What we (10 MLAs) did was to coordinate through our former chairman of district planning and whatever we could utilize from our end, we had done our part,” he said.

Regarding the government’s role, he mentioned that through the district planning committee, they have initiated structural assessments to ensure safety.

“Because, fire rages produce a lot of heat so, our apprehension is the structural compromises may have happened so our former chairman, Tongpang Ozukum have taken various initiatives to get the testing done through the administration and the district administration. So, we are concerned that unless suspicion comes up with the report, necessary requirements and proposals have been put forward and we are awaiting it. Since I have just taken over the chairmanship from my colleague, very soon I think we should be having some proper development,” Longkumer added.

Land for waste dumping
Mokokchung has been grappling with finding a site to dump garbage where the landowner has given a deadline until September 2024 for waste dumping.

When asked about what policies the elected MLAs will implement, Advisor Temjenmenba said that he was told that some solid waste management projects will be taken up for Mokokchung and they are seeking for landowners so that the project can be taken up.

“I think they have already clinched the deal and I believe the contractors have already been selected. So in days to come, the waste management project will be solved,” he said.

Ring Road
When asked about the proposed ring road, Advisor Temjenmenba said, “The proposal was put forth during the previous chairman’s tenure of the DPDB, and with our new chairman, he (Sharingain) is keen on undertaking projects for the improvement of Mokokchung. I am confident that it will come to fruition during his tenure. He has the zeal and passion for it, and steps are being taken. Let’s all hope and pray that it happens during his tenure.”

Councils-elect to be given capacity training

NLA Speaker Sharingain while speaking at a press conference said the government aims to hold interactive sessions, workshops and seminars for the councils-elect in order to equip them with the functioning and the responsibility and duties that come along by being councillors.

This was said by Chief Minister Rio during the felicitation program held in Kohima, he added.

Speaking on how they plan on assessing the performance of the council, the Speaker said, “We are having the ULBs after a long time so there are lots of expectations and desperations that have been involved in the last 18 years. How we assess the performance of the councilors will depend on how the councilors-elect perform their duties.”

Meanwhile, Advisor Temjenmenba said it is the people that will judge their performance.

“I leave it to the wisdom of the people to judge our performances,” he maintained.

PDA govt committed to transparency and accountability

When asked about the mechanisms the PDA government has implemented to ensure transparency and accountability, Sharingain Longkumer, the NLA speaker, stated that whether it is the PDA government or any other, transparency and accountability are promoted through mechanisms such as the Vigilance department, RTI, and Lokayukta. These mechanisms represent the government’s commitment to transparency.

In addition, Longkumer added that the PDA government has expressed a commitment to achieving a ‘state of excellence,’ which underscores their accountability. For example, in sports, notable achievements like producing numerous medal winners have been accomplished through organizations like NOA, ensuring transparency in the selection process, he said.

According to Longkumer, another significant area is employment, where the NSSB stands out as a notable achievement. “For instance, exam papers arrived at Dimapur airport by charter flight at 8:30 AM,” which he believes exemplifies the current government’s practice of accountability and transparency.

While different groups may have reservations, Longkumer encouraged them to engage with established organizations and agencies for clarification.

Advisor Temjenmenba added that the government has reduced interview marks from 50 to 10, prioritizing meritocracy in the NSSB, which, according to the Advisor, highlights another aspect of transparency. Furthermore, he said, the introduction of PIMS numbers aims to eliminate phantom employees.

“Now, every employer has a personal identification system so no appointments can be done on a casual basis without the PIMS number and without the PIMS number you cannot get a salary,” he added.


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