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Governor, political drama made news in Aruchal in 2015

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  28 Dec 2015 12:00 AM GMT


Itagar, Dec 27: High voltage political drama, re-surfacing of contentious Chakma-Hajong refugee issues, controversy on construction of green field airport project, chopper crash, alleged fincial mismagement and protest against Chi’s move to depict Aruchal Pradesh as part of its territory, were some of the issues that hogged limelight during 2015.

The Congress government in the frontier state faced the heat of rebellion from 21 party MLAs out of total 47 during the year.

21 MLAs including six ministers have joined hands with former Fince Minister Kalikho Pul to try and topple chief minister bam Tuki. The legislators have asked for a change in leadership in the state.

Controversy erupted in the state when Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa on December 9 preponed the winter session of the assembly to December 16 from January 14, 2016 which, evoked strong protest among the Tuki camp members including several mass-based organizations in the state.

The governor called the session with directives to deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok to preside over the session and to take up the impeachment motion notice served by eleven BJP and two Independent MLAs against Speaker bam Rebia.

Tuki supported by his nine cabinet ministers along with 16 Congress members including Rebia decided not to attend the three-day session terming it as ‘arbitrary and against the Constitution’.

Surprisingly, the Speaker on December 15 in an order disqualified 14 rebel MLAs including Thongdok from the house on the clause of anti-defection.

However, during the first day of the session, the rebel group of Congress MLAs accompanied by BJP and Independent members went to the Assembly but they were prohibited entry as the district administration on directive of the Speaker sealed the assembly premises for three days apprehending serious law and order problem.

With no option left, the rebel group convened the session in two makeshift venues and impeached the Rebia and elected dissident leader Kalikho Pul as the new leader of the house through a composite floor test brought by the BJP and the Independent members.

The rebel group was prohibited to go to the Raj Bhawan by Youth Congress cadres who resorted to road blockade for nearly five hours.

Providing a breather to Tuki, the Gauhati High Court on December 17 stayed all the proceedings of the assembly and governor’s order till February 1 next year.

The chief minister on October 7 recommended to the Governor for dropping four senior ministers from the state cabinet. A few days later another minister was also axed from the cabinet.

The axe fell on Agriculture Minister Chow Mein, Women and Child Development Minister Wangling Lowangdong, Civil Aviation Minister Thangham Wangham, WRD Minister Kamlung Mossang and Panchayati Raj Institutions and Cooperative Minister Kumar Waii.

However, expressing displeasure over the working style of Tuki, Tourism Minister Pema Khandu, son of former chief minister late Dorjee Khandu tendered his resigtion from the council of minister on October 28 accusing Tuki of having “miserably failed” in governce.

The rebellion started immediately after Aruchal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Padi Richo expelled Pul from the party on April 2 for a period of six years for alleged anti-party activities. However, the expulsion order was later stayed after Pul won the legal battle.

Adding fuel to the coup, Assembly Speaker bam Rebia, a close relative of Tuki on September 30 accepted the resigtion of two Congress MLAs - Gabriel D Wangsu and Wanglam Sawin who, later alleged that they were forced to resign from the MLA post without their knowledge by Tuki during a dinner party hosted by him at his official residence. The duo, however, approached the High Court seeking justice.

The high court had stayed the notification of the assembly issued on October 1 accepting their resigtion, in its order on October 7.

In the later part of the year, resigtion of government appointed parliamentary secretaries and chairmen started opposing leadership of Tuki.

The decades-old Chakma-Hajong refugee imbroglio re-surfaced in the state after the Supreme Court of India in its September 17 order directed the Centre and the state government to provide permanent settlement of the refugees in the state.

The apex court’s order sparked wide-spread protest throughout the state led by All Aruchal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU). Several protest rallies were organized by the apex students’ body and even the state Cabinet under the chairmanship of Tuki decided to file a review petition in the apex court. The state government as well as the AAPSU filed two separate review petitions in the Supreme Court which was dismissed by the court.

The government and the AAPSU also decided to file curative petitions in the apex court.

Allegations of fincial mismagement to the tune of Rs 581 crore by the chief minister brewed in the state during the year with the opposition BJP organizing a public rally here demanding resigtion of Chief Minister bam Tuki for overdrawing the amount forcing the state to plunge into acute fincial crisis.

The party had also demanded immediate imposition of fincial emergency in the state on the account of overdrawn in excess of the arrangement agreed upon with the RBI and stoppage of further payments to the state government.

Senior Congress MLA Kalikho Pul, who was expelled from the party on charges of anti-party activities, in a press conference had also alleged fincial embezzlement by the state government to the tune of Rs 299.32 crore of central fund against relief and rehabilitation schemes in the past four years.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Gauhati High Court (Itagar Permanent Bench) against the state government by a social activists alleging gross misuse of central fund.

Tragedy also struck the state in 2015. A twin engine Dauphin helicopter of the state-run Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited, with three on board – two crew members, Captain M S Brar and Captain Rajiv Hoskote and Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamlesh Kumar Joshi crashed at a site 36 kilometers from the district headquarters immediately after taking off from Khonsa on August 4.

The debris of the chopper along the three bodies was recovered after seven days of the crash.

Chi’s oft repeated claim over Aruchal’s territory surface during the year with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman statement claiming the state as a part of its territory and wrong depiction of Aruchal in its map.

“There is a huge dispute in the eastern border of Chi-India border. This is undeniable fact,” the Foreign Ministry Spokesman said in a statement while Chi’s state owned television CCTV wrongly depicted the Indian map without Aruchal and Jammu & Kashmir during Prime Minister rendra Modi’s visit to Beijing.

The AAPSU strongly protested the statement while the ruling Congress reiterated that Aruchal Pradesh is an integral part of India and the act of Chi’s state channel even while the Indian Prime Minister was in Chi is an insult not only to rendra Modi but to the whole tion and in particular to Aruchal Pradesh.

The Congress officially filed its objection to the erroneous act and questioned if the Prime Minister would raise the issue strongly with the Chinese leadership.

The extension of the controversial Armed Forces Special (Power) Act to nine districts of the state during the year by the union Home Ministry also sparked protest in the state which compelled the ministry to withdraw it.

The governor who sworn in on June 1, faced public criticism after his controversial letter to the PM requesting him to scrap the Greenfield Airport project at Hollongi, near here and istead upgrade Lilabari airport in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district.

Several organizations including Chief Minister bam Tuki castigated him for his letter and demanded his call back from the state. The law and order front was also not conducive in the state during the year. Three Army personnel died in the spot while four other seriously injured when suspected NSCN militants fired on the convoy at Tupi village along Khonsa-Longding road in Tirap district on April 2.

Suspected NSCN (K) militants opened fire in an Assam Rifles (AR) camp at remote Lazu in Tirap district on June 7.

A minor was allegedly raped for two consecutive days by a government employee at Seppa, in East Kameng district on October 7. The state recorded an increase in crime rate during the year with 1980 cases registered out of which 1164 cases were solved with workout percentage of 58.79.

Landslides and flood wrecked havoc in the state during the year with over 300 housed damaged and properties worth several crore were destroyed.

The state also witnessed several developmental activities as well during the year. The Aruchal Pradesh Bamboo Resources Development Agency (APBRDA) on October 9 inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) for supplying bamboo.

Union Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Minister Nitin Gadkari on April 30 announced various road projects for Aruchal Pradesh and laid the foundation stones of five important roads with total length of 542.27 kilometers involving an estimated cost of Rs 3, 286.28 crore to boost up accelerated development in the land-locked state.

The Aruchal Pradesh cabinet on July 3 approved an ambitious project – Infrastructure development of twin capital city Itagar and harlagun– that would adorn the twin cities with fly-overs, metro cable cars, automated car parking slots, multi-utility city centers and other facilities synonymous with a model metro-city!

The blueprint for the much-hyped Film and Television Institute in Aruchal Pradesh is under preparation with site selection at Jollang (Jote) near here covering an area of 50 acres.

The state government had constituted a State Development Council (SDC) in place of the existing State Planning Board. Tuki on August 18 iugurated the first ever all women banking institution of the state – the women branch of Aruchal Pradesh State Cooperative Apex Bank at harlagun.

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