The Joint Action Committee of Ukhrul district against non-disbursement of National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) on Monday submitted a memorandum to CM Biren Singh demanding immediate suspension of the deputy commissioner Joseph Pauline Kamson, accusing the public officer of withholding the NDRF fund amounting to Rs. 1.19 crore for more than seven months.
Briefing news-persons in a press conference held at UDWJA office in Ukhrul town Monday, JAC Convenor Silas Tuikhar informed that the JAC has submitted the memorandum to CM to mount pressure on the state government for immediate suspension of the incumbent district administrator, while urging for early disbursement of the fund under NDRF to around 5000 affected victims of Mora Cyclone in 2017 and 2018.
“If the state government fails to take prompt actions on the matter, it (government) would be held solely responsible in the event of any untoward incidents,” Tuikhar warned categorically.
Explaining about the rationale for demanding suspension of DC Kamson, he said that the public officer has committed a criminal offence by illegally withholding the relief fund of Rs 1.19 crore which was released as second installment for the Mora victims to the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), Ukhrul district on 5 March, 2020.
However, DC Kamson, who is chairman of DDMA, has been illegally holding back the fund for the last more than seven months without distributing it to the affected Mora victims in four blocks of the district namely, Ukhrul, Chingai, Jessami and Lungchong Meiphai, Tuikhar pointed out.
He further lamented that the four blocks of the district are being allocated lesser amount compared to valley areas despite facing the same impacts of natural calamity. “It’s only because of the report submitted by former DC/Chairman DDMA Ukhrul Harmit Pahuja Singh without following the proceedings of District Disaster Management Authority Ukhrul district,” Tuikhar said.
“As such we personally met the present DC/Chairman DDMA Ukhrul Joseph Pauline Kamson and urged him to convene a meeting of DDMA on 12th August 2019, regarding the false report submitted by the then DC/Chairman DDMA Ukhrul which cannot be accepted as per the guideline”. Subsequently, a meeting of DDMA was held on 17 August 2019 for revision of the report submitted by the then DC in the larger interest of the effected victims of Mora Cyclone in 2017 and 2018.
Tuikhar said that a memorandum was then submitted to the Chief Minister urging for revising the report of the then DC/Chairman DDMA on 30 August 2019. “Accordingly, Chief Minister recommended for appropriate action to ACS/R&DM and a sanction order for Rs 1.19 crore as second installment was served on 11 November 2019 under order No. 4 of 2019 by Additional Chief Secretary (Relief and Damages) by orders and in the name of Governor, Manipur by enhancing an amount of Rs 9 lakhs from the first instalment of Rs 1.10 crore”.
Since the fund could not be withdrawn or transferred through RBI & Finance Department due to a ban on transactions, he said, adding that as soon as the ban was lifted the file that was detained for a lapse of nearly three months was finally processed.
“After we submitted memoranda to the Principal Secretary Finance on 5 February 2020 and 4 March 2020, Finance Department on 5 March issued an order for extension of Encashment permission vide its UO. No.EP/48/9/2019-2020,” he related.
He said that the same order was submitted to the present DC/Chairman DDMA on the same date before imposition of the Lockdown over Covid-19 for immediate transfer of the fund as the list of affected victims had been verified by the previous DC. “But despite this, our DC has been delaying distribution of the fund to the affected victims citing lockdown as the reason for the same which is illogical,” he rued. But then, tender notice under BADP are being invited and other development works like NR etc. are being sanction and transferred without interruption.
According to Tuikhar, on repeated approach by the JAC requesting distribution of the relief assistance to the effected victims at an early date, DC directed them to meet his dealing clerk instead of taking up actions from his end.
“This is very much unbecoming of a public officer and a great insult to the victims and a criminal violation of the government order under NDRF,” he observed.