NTC raises concerns on Nagaland Special Development Zones
The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) has serious concern on the Nagaland Special Development Zones (NSDZs) which objective is found detrimental to the very interest of the State of Nagaland. The proposed plan is to earmark the whole area of the foothills from Tizit in Mon District to Khelma in Peren District now covering 8 Districts, namely, Mon, Longleng, Mokokchung, Wokha, Niuland, Chümoukedima, Dimapur and Peren to be the so called Special Development Zones without any blueprint project report.
In order to start the NSDZs, the Chief Secretary of Nagaland directed the Commissioner & Secretary, Industries, Nagaland to circulate the concept note to all the concerned Deputy Commissioners to have negotiation with the civil societies for identification of the areas for NSDZs vide Order No.CSO/1/GEN/2013 dated, the 25th November, 2013. Accordingly, the then Commissioner & Secretary, Industries & Commerce forwarded the concept note to those Deputy Commissioners vide letter No.I&C/C-SEZ/12-2/2013 dated, January 6, 2014.
Whereas, under Serial No.10 of the Concept Note Clause (i): The first aspect will be to restructure the land tenure system through intensive cadastral survey identifying the ownership. Clause (ii): Such an exercise will be followed by the introduction of title and ownership deeds and its registration to give legal coverage and sanctity. Clause (iii): Such a process is intended to regulate the land tenure system to facilitate legal ownership and transfer of land and thereby facilitate investment and industrialisation. Clause (iv): This will entail the relaxation of the existing systems of land ownership and tenure systems that are largely tribal in nature. Clause (v): In such SDZs the ILP system based on the BEFR (Bengal Frontier Regulation of 1873) will need to be relaxed.
The aforementioned clauses have made it clear that within the earmarked areas of NSDZs will be bereft of the enforcements of ILP and the Nagaland Land (Amendment) Act of 1978. Virtually the areas under NSDZs will remain outside the purview of the Art 371-A whereby the vast plain foothill sectors will be offered to strangers for permanent settlement.
The Concept Note was duly approved by the State Cabinet as stated in the said former Chief Secretary’s order issued to Commissioner & Secretary, Industries. Whereas, the said Cabinet decision on NSDZ remains and as had been adopted by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly on 24th March, 2014 no one has ever heard of the revocation of the very resolution.
Realising that the NSDZs, when implemented and enforced, will convert Nagaland’s limited plains into no man’s land, the NTC in its Public Rally at Wokha on 30.9.2014 adopted two resolutions: 1. The Rally unequivocally resolved to nullify the No Objection Certificates (NOC) obtained by Government from the individual landowners within Lotha territory in the guise of development and translated as secured documents for the NSDZs. 2. Resolved to authorise the NTC to pursue the matters till the above demands are made. To our utter surprise, the State Government stealthily obtained the NOCs from the private landowners in the foothill area in Wokha District and those landowners came forward to nullify the NOCs publicly on their own volition in the rally. The same resolutions were adopted earlier in Zunheboto Rally on 9.9.2014.
In the light of the above, the NTC urges the State Government to revoke the Cabinet decision on NSDZs and repeal the Nagaland Legislative assembly Resolution of 24th march, 2014 on NSDZs as such would create the earmarked areas to become the buffer zone for subjugating our land and our gullible population into secondary citizens to the intruders.
The second major concern is the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) which was rightly mooted by the State Government. No nation on earth can neither be oblivious nor be complacent of its citizenship. It is therefore pertinent for the Government of Nagaland to have sincerely perused the same by means of constituting a Commission headed by Mrs. Banuo Z Jamir whose team completed its assignment and eventually submitted the report to the Government. However, it was disappointing to observe that the Government made a U-turn in its pursuance of the issue as it has kept the report in cold storage for more than two years since it has received the report.
The NTC urges upon the Government of Nagaland to peruse the given report without inhibition as the RIIN is as indispensable as food is to animate elements as for the survival of Nagaland is concerned. And as and when the RIIN is implemented, the cut-off year has to be the 1.12.1963. Under no circumstances the faulty method of registration can be incorporated or the cut-off year can be neither relaxed. Improper registration of citizenship will endanger the very existence of the bona fide indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland. The exercise of the RIIN has to be done without fear or favour.
The Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) comprises of four parts: Part A – Findings. Part B – Comments of the Commission on the findings. Part C – Eligibility, and Part D – Recommendations.
With the creation of Nagaland as the 16th State of Indian Union out of Political Agreement w.e.f. 1-12-1963 for the purpose of identifying its Indigenous Inhabitants there is laid down cut-off date and year maintaining as “1-12-1963” vide the State Government standing Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima the 28th April 1978 as referred to in the Commission report vide Para 1 of P/5. Everyone is also aware of the fact that the serial 16 of the 16-Point Agreement empowers the state to enforce the BEFR Act 1873/ Inner Line Permit (ILP). Quote: “The rules embodied in the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 shall remain in force in Nagaland” unquote. The two afore mentioned Notification and Orders have been delegated by the Constitution of India and has the Constitutional status. The BEFR Act 1873/ILP and RIIN are synonymous and cannot be separated. Several times existence of this document was incorporated in the RIIN Commission Findings and Eligibility of the constitutionally delegated Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima the 28th April 1978 maintaining cut-off date and year as “1-12-1963” for the purpose of identification of Indigenous Inhabitants in the state. However, it is not included in the Recommendation portion.
The whole Nagaland state is a tribal state. However, making the matter worse and complicating the whole issue the state government has issued another Notification against the wishes of the aboriginal people in the name of Tribal Belt notification vide Land Revenue Department Notification NO. LR/2-118/76 dated 21/11/1979 as referred do at P/32 of the report bifurcating the Hill Sections and the Plain Sector of the State whereby a person settled in the state prior to 21st November 1979 are eligible for Indigenous Inhabitants status.
How could there be two different cut-off date and year for identification of Indigenous Inhabitants as “1-12-1963” for the Hill People and another as “21/11/1979” for the Plain Sector ? Whereas the Land Revenue Department Notification NO. LR/2-118/76 dated 21/11/1979 is not in any way a provision within the 16-Point agreement as such, the state cannot be divided into two enforcement zones. In order to make the discrepancy rectified to constitutionally delegated Notification cut-off date and year of 1-12-1963 Tribal bodies and Civil Society Organisations have been appealing, through representations to the state government umpteen times but no comeback have been accorded till date.
Another enormous error which is recommended by the RIIN Commission at Para P/58 E. Proof of permanency of residence, is; Quote:- “(1) Electoral Roll from 1963 -2019 with a personal declaration of not having been enrolled in any other state” unquote.
Whatever may be the case, at the concluding day of the decision only what is recommended will be taken into consideration for enforcement of RIIN. Therefore, the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) urges upon the government to incorporate the constitutionally delegated Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima the 28th April 1978 for maintaining cut-off date and year as “1-12-1963” for the purposes of identification of Indigenous Inhabitants in the state as “Recommendation No. 1”. Further, erroneous recommendation of Proof of permanency of residence at P/58 as referred to above be deleted from the recommendation. At the same time the government’s Tribal Belt Notification No. LR/2-118/76 Dated 21stNov/1979 be revoked immediately. If RIIN is not to act in accordance with the constitutionally delegated Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima the 28th April 1978 for maintaining cut-off date and year as “1-12-1963” then it is absolutely preposterous.
NAGALAND TRIBES COUNCIL
Indian Red Cross Society Complex
Kohima- 797001, Nagaland.