Nagaland: NPRAAF hails Lokayukta for taking up ‘corruption’ case in Tourism Deptt

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KOHIMA | Feb 6:

The NagalandPublic Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF) has expressed itsappreciation to the Lokayukta Nagaland for taking up the case relating toalleged corruption and illegal appointment in Tourism Department.

In a release issued here on Thursday, the NPRAAFhas requested the state Lokayukta to take suo moto of this press release whereit pointed out that in the appointment of tourist officers,the Department has flouted service rules for over a period of time even thoughtourism is a very important sector which can become backbone of the stateeconomy.

"The department has been appointing and absorbing 3rd and 4th grade staff deputed to the department through political pressure as a result there is no productivity, the Department should appoint tourist officers only who have a degree in Tourism studies through fair NPSC exams," read the release.

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Urging the Lokayukta to take note of the appointment of officersworking in tourism department, the NPRAAF said that the government is breakingthe rules rather than following them.

The Forum mentioned a list of appointments:

1.  The section officer (S/A)serving under PWD housing was appointed as Tourist Officer (TO) on 28/12/2007, for a period of 1(one) year when the election code of conduct was inplace between December to February 2007-08, again his absorption asAssistant Director Tourism was made on 02/01/ 2008, as shown in the list ofincumbency of Tourist Officer (TO) to up-graded post Assistant Director, withina week, during the time when election code of conduct was in force. "It isillegal to make any appointment according to peoples representation Act 1951,"NPRAAF stated.

"Interestingly his appointment was approved by the cabinet on05/08/2010, even though the appointment letter clearly states that, the post shallbe recruited through NPSC."

2. Again, the service of another officer was extended by theGovernor of Nagaland vide notification dated 16/12/2018, however, his name wasreleased in the incumbency list of tourist officers to the upgraded post ofAssistant Director/Sr. Tourist Officer as having appointed and absorbed on02/06/2006, even though he was a graduate teacher purely sent on deputation fora period of 1(one) year as per Govt. notification dated 28/12/2007 and the postwas to be recruited through NPSC exams. 

3. In another order, a person working as sectional Assistant (Mohorrir) equivalent to peon and another person working as Graduate teacher were appointed and absorbed in the department of tourism as per cabinet approval on 5/8/2010 which was also taken as effective date of appointment even though they were already appointed and absorbed on 02/01/2008 and 02/06/06 respectively in the rank of Assistant Director. 

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4. In another case, a candidate was appointed and regularized on13/09/2010 without due sanction from the P&AR government of Nagaland, "whichis against service rule and therefore illegal."

The Forum pointed out that it is mandatory to obtain NOC fromthe parent Department before absorption in the service to the departmentwhere one is sent on deputation thereafter.

"There shall be clearance from the Public & AdministrativeReforms (P&AR) Dept. Govt of Nagaland before ultimately getting thecandidates absorbed; however all rules were illegally flouted in appointing theTourist Officers (TO). We wonder if the Govt. departments have to follow theservice rules or cabinet rules. The Govt. must follow its own rules instead ofgoing against its own rules," the released further stated.

The NPRAAF said that the Lokayukta must also ensure that, theillegal act of all concern must be brought to light and action taken so asto instill transparency and faith in the institution of justice even as itinvestigate the case of a former IAS officer in charge of Tourism Dept. who wasallegedly involved in the corruption case where more questionable appointmentswere under scanner. 

"The Government of Nagaland must also fully cooperate andsupport the Lokayukta to deliver justice as it is evident in the sequence ofdevelopment that, the cabinet may have been misled to approve the regularizationof illegal appointments," added the NPRAAF.