SHILLONG, June 12: Lumshnong in East Jaintia Hills (EJH) district may soon be the permanent headquarters of a Community and Rural Development (C&RD) Block should the state government heed the High Court’s order in this regard.
It may be noted here that the High Court had ordered the government to consider afresh the shifting of the C&RD block to Lumshnong while giving its judgement on a PIL filed by a resident of the district Damewanhii Rymbai against the government’s notification on January 9 for shifting the block from Wapung village to Lumshnong village.
“This petition is disposed of with a direction to the respondents to pursue the matter so that the chief minister’s secretariat after considering the entire gamut of the matter afresh vis-à-vis revoking or otherwise of the notification dated January 9 providing for shifting of the block headquarters to Lumshnong. After due consideration, decision shall be taken within a period of six weeks…” the bench said.
This was also after the C&RD Commissioner and Secretary in an affidavit submitted before the bench informed that the matter is under active consideration before the CM’s secretariat as the department’s secretary has already forwarded a letter to the principal secretary of CM’s secretariat stating the view for shifting of the Khliehriat C&RD Block to Wapung and thereafter to Lumshnong as the headquarters.
The Dorbar Shnong of Wapung village had executed a gift deed on April 21, 2017 in favour of the state government donating a plot of land measuring 2.6 acres at Wapung Shnong and another plot of land measuring 10,127 square meters at Madan Satrang, Wapung Skur for the purpose of construction and setting up the office of Wapung C&RD Block.
In the petition, Rymbai has alleged that the Minister in-charge C&RD Sniawbhalang Dhar had inaugurated the block development office at Wapung Skur in presence of the villagers and the representative of district administration.
Over a period of four years beginning from the year 2014 after completing survey, the block was established at Wapung but surprisingly the government issued a notification on January 9 conveying that the Governor has approved shifting of the same to Lumshnong much to the annoyance of the residents of Wapung, he said.
Following this, representations were also submitted Governor and the Chief Minister on January 23, demanding the government not to shift the block from Wapung village. According to the petition, the move to shift the block was politically motivated and without any logic.
However, the counter affidavit filed by the department has stated that the notification for shifting of block from Wapung to Lumshnong was decided on the demand of public belonging to villages on the southern part of Khliehriat town who have expressed difficulty to visit the block office.
It said that Lumshnong was found to be a central place while further claiming that no expenditure has been incurred for construction of the block office.
However an amount of Rs 25 lakhs each for the purpose of construction of Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra stands allotted to all the block headquarters as per the guidelines of government of India.
In the rejoinder affidavit, it has been highlighted that Rs 25 lakhs has been spent for construction of the Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra. After spending such a huge amount, the respondents cannot take an arbitrary decision to shift the headquarters (from Wapung) to some other place which shall be at the cost of the public exchequer, it said.
Meanwhile, the bench also stated that in the process, the petitioners along with other stakeholders shall be given proper opportunity of being heard and the larger public interest shall be kept in mind.
“The decision whatever taken shall be conveyed to the parties, more particularly to the petitioners. Right is reserved to the petitioners to re-agitate subject to survival of cause,” it stated in the order.