‘If NLTP Act is good let’s continue, if bad let’s relax it’
KOHIMA, OCTOBER 9
Chief Minister TR Zeliang today expressed concern that many controversies and different opinions are recently being publicised pertaining to the policy and programmes of the government of the day, particularly on Nagaland Special Development Zones (NSDZ), Nagaland Investment Board (NIB), Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition (NLTP) Act.
Addressing the Naga People’s Front (NPF) Central Executive Council meeting at the NPF Central Office, Kohima, the Chief Minister reminded that ‘policies and programmes’ constitute the lifeline of any government formed by any political party. “Today, our party is empowered, so not only the members who are participating in the government but all the party functionaries should know and should carry the message of the government policy and programmes of the day,” he said.
Zeliang highlighted that issues regarding NSDZ, NIB, and NLTP Act which attracted much criticism, are currently on a debate and a public consultation meet was held in this regard September last. On NSDZ and NIB, he said the government has clearly put across during the meeting and assured for rectification if the assembly resolution or any portion of it infringes Article 371 (A) or the right of the Nagas, and further invited views and suggestions from different sections of the people. Despite all assurances, he said there are still some organizations going ahead with their agitation against the setting up of NSDZ and NIB.
Another area of concern, according to Zeliang, is the notion that the present government intends to ‘relax’ the ILP system in the state. “We do not intend to remove the ILP….We intend to relax the system,” Zeliang stated. He pointed out that as per the existing regulation act, ILP is valid for only 15 days and there are no provisions for renewal or extension. He said the resolution was passed to regulate and streamline the system as there is a need to categorize the permit such as for tourists, for those who are permanently working in the state and teachers etc.
On liquor prohibition issue, the Chief Minister said the government has just put up the question whether the NLTP Act 1989 is good or bad. “Our stand is, if prohibition is good then let us continue enforcing the Act, and if it is bad then let us relax it to some extent”, he stated. While laying emphasis that suggestions and views are still welcome as another consultation meet will be convened soon, Zeliang, however lamented that people are now talking as though the government has already liquidated the system/ passed an Act in the Assembly.
Assam-Nagaland border issue
The Chief Minister said there is “high hope” that the long burning Assam-Nagaland border issue will be settled soon and permanent peace will be ushered in between the two neighbouring states.
For the first time in the history of the border issue, the Supreme Court has recently announced an interim order that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will shoulder the responsibility to settle the Assam-Nagaland border impasse amicably, outside the court, Zeliang said.
“The Government of India in the past hasd never come forward to this extent,” Zeliang said, adding, “Today, with the Supreme Court order, we have achieved one step forward.”
The Chief Minister then informed that he and state home minister, Y Patton are planning to meet the people concerned. However, he expressed hope that they (Zeliang and Patton) will also be able to meet with their Assam counterparts in Guwahati on Friday.
“We have had threadbare discussion earlier and now the Home Ministry has come to understand the reality on ground,” Zeliang said.