NEW DELHI: The Nagaland government had to ask two of its women employees posted in Delhi, both widows, to vacate their official quarters so that governor R N Ravi is allowed to retain his bungalow here that was allotted to him in his capacity as the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.
The two widows were allegedly “evicted” as the Nagaland government had to surrender two flats from its quota of property in Delhi in lieu of Ravi being allowed to retain the bungalow. When contacted, T Mhabemo Yanthan, the governor’s commissioner and secretary, did not deny the incident and said if there was any resentment over the action, it was up to the state government to deal with it.
Ravi was allotted the flat in tony New Moti Bagh in March 2015 following his appointment to the JIC earlier in 2014. He was simultaneously made the interlocutor for the talks between the government and the Naga rebel outfit, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM.
But although even he retired from the intelligence panel in August 2018, he continues to occupy the premises to date. Sources said the ground on which he made a case for retaining the bungalow was that he continues to be the interlocutor for the Naga talks even after his appointment as the governor in August 2019.
Even the Nagaland government has argued that as Ravi has to often travel to Delhi in his role as the interlocutor, he should be allowed to keep the flat from the state’s quota of central government property.
Interestingly, Ravi is yet to pay nearly ` 64 lakh towards rent for the bungalow for which he has been issued a notice under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.
According to a “provisional rent report” sent to Ravi, a copy which has been accessed by this newspaper, he has been asked to appear before the Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, for a “personal hearing” on July 15 “or through a duly authorized representative” to hear the dispute over the dues.
Every state government is allotted property under the General Pool Residential Accommodation to house its employees posted in Delhi. They are mostly located in central Delhi and managed by the Directorate of Estates.
Under the GPRA rules, Nagaland is entitled to six quarters, which have been allotted to the chief minister and additional chief secretary among others. The governor is not in the list of beneficiaries as he has a separate suite reserved at the Nagaland House for his stay in the capital.
But as Ravi and the Nagaland government pressed for retaining the bungalow, the matter was referred to the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation headed by the Prime Minister.
Widows ‘threatened’ by officials close to R N Ravi
THE CCA in December 2018 allowed Ravi to retain the flat but on two conditions. First, the allotment had to be made from the state quota and second, the Nagaland government would have to surrender two flats in lieu of Ravi’s bungalow. The state government subsequently pressed the widows to vacate their official quarters.
As per a complaint filed by one of them, they were served several showcause notices and even allegedly threatened by officials close to the governor. The complaint said they were told that if they don’t surrender their Type-2 flats as an “adjustment” for Ravi’s bungalow, they would either be suspended or transferred home.
The other woman officer in a letter written to deputy chief minister Yanthungo Patton on March 31 this year pleaded that she be excluded “ f r om being the next target for eviction of my entitled quarter in which I have been staying for the last 25 years.” “I am a widow with two children who are solely dependent on me. If I am evicted from the government accommodation allotted to me, I will not be in a position to stay in (a) rented house as I belong to a low salaried income group of employees,” she wrote. But their pleas apparently fell on deaf ears and they vacated their houses.