Govt will consult people on major issues: Zeliang
Kohima, August 15
Chief Minister TR Zeliang today asserted that his government will not take any decision relating to major issues concerning land and its resources within Nagaland without consultations with the people.
In his maiden address to the people of the State as the Chief Minister on the occasion of 68th Independence Day celebration at Secretariat Plaza here, Zeliang said the State government has come up with various new initiatives like the Nagaland Special Development Zone, State Investment Board, Foothill Road and the exploitation of the rich mineral resources such as oil and coal.
He, however, lamented that there appears to be reservations in the minds of some sections of the Naga society on these new ideas.
“The government remains open for dialogue with the people on these initiatives,” he said while expressing the hope that the people will understand that the new policies being initiated by the government are with the best of intentions and with the interests of the people in mind.
As the new Chief Minister of the State, Zeliang asserted, “My government continues to pursue its goals in accordance with our slogan “Peace for Development and Development for Peace”.“We are presently faced with problems of resources,” he said adding that Nagaland’s resource base is very small and the State’s own tax and non-tax revenue comprises only about 6% of the total budgetary expenditure and that the State is almost wholly dependent on the Centre for the financial requirements.
He, therefore, said, “It is time to remind ourselves that the people of Nagaland have to start thinking more seriously on how our economy should grow, and how to enhance our own revenues, so that we can one day proudly claim to be a self-reliant and a self-sustaining society.”
“The stand of the Government is clear in that any decision relating to major issues concerned land and its resources will be taken only after due consultation with the people,” he said.
Zeliang maintained that despite all the constraints, the State continues to march forward and the current growth rate of our Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is assessed at around 15% while the per capita income is seen to be growing at about 11.58%.
This, he said, is much higher than the national growth rate, and it should be our endeavour to sustain with such economic growth rates through our hard work.
Maintaining that the growth rate in agriculture and horticulture sector is encouraging and very heartening, he said under the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry sector, the production of meat, milk and egg is growing substantially, and their import is also declining. As per a survey report in 2013-14, the ratio of our domestic meat production to import is 65:35 while it was 60:40 in 2010-11, he said while asserting that the government aims to further improve this ratio in the coming years.
Along with the growth in productivity, the government is also striving to meet the challenges of global warming and global climate change, he said adding that the forest cover continues to be substantial, which now stands at 78.68%.
“Our efforts at conserving the Amur Falcon has been acknowledged worldwide, leading to Nagaland being named the Amur Falcon capital of the world,” he declared.
Reminding that economic growth and development including conservation of environment and bio-diversity are not responsibility of the government alone, he said “it requires the participation of all the people.
He, therefore, called upon the people of Nagaland to continue to be more proactive, so that we can become a progressive and resilient society, capable of meeting the challenges posed by climate change, and surviving with the resources that God has given us.He also stated that the government is planning to exploit all natural resources – dimension stone, coal and limestone – so as to yield maximum benefit and employment avenues for the local population.
Stating that the State’s economic growth is largely dependent on the infrastructure, he said the government is actively working to improve connectivity in the State. He said the government is going to accord high priority to road maintenance but stressed that the cooperation of the people is also necessary for its success. He announced that the National Highways Authority of India will soon be floating global tenders for the construction of long pending four-laning of Dimapur-Kohima highway. He also said survey works for Dimapur-Sechü Railway line will be started shortly.
Zeliang appealed to the people to cooperate with the government instead of agitating for successful construction of the Foothill Road.
In order to overcome the acute shortage of power problem in the State, the Chief Minister announced that the government is taking up various initiatives, including 186 MW Dikhu Hydro Project and 150 MW Tizu-Zungki Project.
He said the major problem in the State, however, is the transmission and distribution losses, which are largely attributed to non-payment of power bills by consumers, as also power theft. “If the power supply system is to improve, it will depend on the people to realize their responsibilities and take ownership of the power facilities and services being provided by the government,” he said.
He said the State is doing extremely well in the health care sector while also substantial improvement made in the provision of water supply, with more habitations being covered.
In the education sector, he said to improve the quality of school education, Teacher Eligibility Teat for recruitment of elementary school teachers is being implemented while qualitative improvement in Higher Education has been achieved through implementation of accreditation scheme under National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
Zeliang said the rural areas continue to get the highest attention of the government as around 70% of the population is in rural areas. He said the government’s initiatives to uplift the backward areas of the State are continuing unabated under DUDA and the BRGF programmes.
Pointing out that despite all advancements, the problem of unemployment persists, and Nagaland presently has 65,783 educated youth on the live register of Employment Exchanges in the State. To tackle this problem, he said, the government is continuing to give attention to the creation of the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Skill Development Initiatives (SDIs) besides encouraging the emergence of Vocational Training Providers through the Nagaland SDI Society.
Highlighting some of the major activities being implemented in the State, he reminded the Naga people that in the present century, the government can only be a facilitator and added that the true economic growth and social development depends on the people.
Extending greetings on the auspicious occasion, the Chief Minister called upon the people to “savour our freedom, and to strive for excellence, so that together, we move towards our common visions of a progressive and prosperous Nagaland.”