Naga Issue, Art. 371 (A) Impeding Economic Growth — Yepthomi - Eastern Mirror
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Naga issue, Art. 371 (A) impeding economic growth — Yepthomi

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By EMN Updated: Jan 03, 2024 10:55 pm

DIMAPUR — In a statement on Wednesday, Nagaland’s lone Member of Parliament  in the Lok Sabha, Tokheho Yepthomi, addressed critical issues facing the state, emphasising the need for action on economic challenges.

He focused on the delay in resolving the Naga political issue, Article 371 (A), and its potential impact on oil extraction plans along the Assam-Nagaland bounder.

Providing historical context, Yepthomi highlighted the initiation of the Naga political movement in 1929 with the representation given to Akbar Hyder Ali, and subsequent events that have culminated in the formation of Nagaland state in 1963.

According to the MP, when the state of Nagaland was formed, the people of Nagaland had great expectations that it would usher in an era of development and prosperity, but the “ground realities are on the contrary to peoples’ expectations primarily due to revenue crunch”.

Reflecting on the political developments over the past 60 years, the MP noted that even with the Framework Agreement and Agreed Position signed in 2015 and 2017 respectively under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the socio-economic challenges persist.

“Whatever justification we give for the inability and incapacity to keep pace with development and economic growth with the rest of the country and world is because of the unresolved political issue and the use of money power in all walks of life,” Yepthomi asserted.

In this context, the MP highlighted the economic progress in the neighbouring north eastern states such as the upgrade of several oil refineries in Assam to increase oil production.

“Very soon 64% of India’s oil production will come from north-eastern states, of which Nagaland will not be a part of as the ongoing political negotiations has halted the exploration of oil in Nagaland,” he said.

Pointing out that the refineries are a source of direct and indirect employment for thousands of youths in Assam, he said, “Whilst our neighbours make economic progress at blistering pace, we Nagas have stifled development on the pretext of Article 371 (A) and the political negotiations.”

Further, he drew attention to Nagaland’s electricity crisis while emphasising its detrimental effect on businesses. He also advocated for tapping into potential energy sources within Nagaland and urged reconsideration of practices like giving ‘power of attorney’ to outsiders, which, he argued, hindered economic independence.

Noting the high percentage of unemployed youth in the state, the MP went on to pose a critical question about the future path for Nagaland, asking whether the focus should be on economic independence or continued negotiations for political sovereignty, considering the implications for future generations.

Also read: 12 dead, 25 injured in Assam road accident

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By EMN Updated: Jan 03, 2024 10:55:05 pm
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