ITANAGAR, Oct 2: The 32nd Rumgong Intellectual Forum on Tuesday demanded the removal of Power Minister Tamiyo Taga from the state cabinet over his alleged “nepotism practices.”
Alleging that Taga’s eldest son, Taging Taga, was “illegally” awarded 25 contract works out of 46 tender works, amounting to Rs 3885 lakhs (between 2009 to 2018), in Rumgong constituency of Siang district, the forum urged Chief Minister Pema Khandu to remove Taga from his cabinet of ministers.
Addressing journalists at the press club here, the forum’s legal advisor Tajing Pangkeng said documents revealed that Taga awarded contract works without floating notices inviting tender (NIT), which Pangkeng said was in violation of the Arunachal Pradesh District Based Entrepreneurs and Professional (Incentives, Development and Promotional) Rules, 2015.
Citing an instance, Pangkeng said the contract work (amounting to Rs 267.61 lakhs) for the 2×2.5 mva, 33/11 kv substation at Patum Lilo on the existing 33 kv line and 11 kv feeder line under the Rumgong electrical division was awarded to Daporijo-based M/s DNG Enterprise, of which Taga’s son was the attorney, in the year 2017-’18.
He said such practices have deprived the people of the constituency from taking part in the developmental activities and reaping the benefits of development.
The forum’s legal advisor also claimed that the works have been completed on paper but in reality only 40 to 60 percent has been completed. He added that violating the district entrepreneur act was uncalled for and illegal because the constituency has several Class-I contractors.
Terming it a clear case of nepotism, Pangkeng said the state government should drop Taga from the cabinet to facilitate a free and fair investigation. He added that Taga himself should resign from his post on moral ground.
The forum further alleged that the power minister misused his official position to divert developmental projects to his private land. Pangkeng said Taga diverted work for wire fencing (with iron angle posts) around 150 hectares of compact orange garden at Gargu in Jomoh village (in erstwhile West Siang district), amounting to over Rs 3 crore, to his private land.
Similarly, he accused Taga of shifting the indoor stadium from Patum village to his residential compound in Patum by citing unavailability of land, and said Taga was currently using it “as his private godown for storing construction materials.
Informing that the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee had also raised the issue earlier, to which Taga had responded by saying that the allegations were “not only political in nature but personal,” the forum said Taga, being their local MLA, cannot avoid the issue, and that the people have every right to question him, whether it be a political or a personal matter, when their development is at stake.
On being contacted, Taga claimed that “there is no such intellectual forum” and said the executive members of the forum were Congress workers making the allegations “at the behest of the former INC MLA candidate Talem Taboh.”
“Such allegations are politically motivated and an attempt to assassinate my character,” he said.
Responding to the allegation of nepotism, Taga said his son never got any tender project but worked only in partnership with other firms.
“In a tender process, any firm can win the tender, and it is not possible that developmental works have been carried out in my constituency without adhering to the laid down norms,” he said.
In regard to the violation of the district based entrepreneur act, Taga said the persons who have made the allegations should also consider whether there was any firm in the constituency which was eligible to undertake the project.
“If there is no eligible firm in the district to execute power-related projects then the firms from other districts will obviously come,” he said.
Responding to the allegation regarding the stadium, Taga said the project was implemented on his land “because no one in Patum village wanted to donate their land.”
He said, “If the forum’s members who are from that area have problems in construction of the indoor stadium on my land, they should have donated their land. Instead of being grateful to me for developing one of the best indoor stadiums, they are now making an issue.”
Also denying the allegation of using the stadium as his private godown, Taga said the badminton competition under the Khelo India Khelo initiative was held at the same stadium.
“The stadium is not used on a daily basis and is very large; so keeping some things in it is not wrong,” Taga said. “It would only be wrong of players are not allowed to use it.”