Opposition and treasury bench debate on Governor’s address
Kohima, Feb 22 (EMN): The second day of the ongoing third session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly saw a healthy exchange of words between the treasury and the opposition bench over the motion of thanks to the governor’s address, which was moved by H Tovihoto Ayemi, and seconded by N Bongkhao.
Joining against the motion of thanks to the governor’s address, leader of opposition, TR Zeliang claimed that the PDA government has not done anything other than the conventional practices of setting up Joint Legislators’ Forum.
Recalling the statement of the governor to the media on March 6, 2018, where he announced that the Naga political issue would be resolved within six months, Zeliang remarked that his latest statement presented to the house was yet another “artificial solace to the pain and sufferings of the Naga people.”
He further said that there has not been any visible step forward after the Framework Agreement that was signed on Aug. 3, 2015; but only announcement after announcement.
On declaration of Kiphire as an ‘aspirational district’, he said that according to the governor’s address, a corpus of INR 1 crore has been set up to take up projects to meet the developmental gaps in Kiphire district but in reality, he claimed, the district has not been allotted any fund till today.
On the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, NPF legislator Chotisuh Sazo said that like Tripura, the Bill will allow “illegal immigrants” to overtake the indigenous people of Nagaland.
MLA Toyang Chang speaking against the motion of governor’s address on Naga political issue, said that the union government was not serious about resolving the issue. He said New Delhi was taking the Nagas for a ride. Chang also accused the PDA government of adopting a “lukewarm attitude” towards the Citizenship Bill.
Another NPF legislator, YM Yollow suggested that since mini hornbill is celebrated in all the districts across the year, the annual event at Kisama should be limited to five days only.
Advisor to the department of Power, Tovihoto Ayemi, highlighted several development activities the PDA government have started such as the National Scheduled Caste Schedule Tribe Hub (NSSH) under Industries and Commerce department.
He also added that the scheme provides professional support to SC/ST entrepreneurs under the central government procurement policy exhibition and trade fair, vendor development programmes.
Ayemi said that in Tourism sector, the government has taken up several innovative concepts and ideas to promote the state’s tourism.
Joining the debate, Metsubo Jamir, minister for Municipal Affairs said the PDA government has done so much in not more than a year and the general public are appreciative of their efforts. He also stated that the PDA government has revived many projects abandoned by the previous government.
Advisor to the department of Water Resources, Namri Nchang added that the government has accorded special importance to economic development of the backward areas by citing the introduction of various activities under DUDA like ANGHYA, Market Linkage Hubs in all the district headquarter of Mon, Tuensang, Longleng and Kiphire.
If we unite, we can save our people—Rio
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio agreed that there is a need to convene a special assembly session to discuss the Citizenship Bill. “If we unite, we can save our people,” he said.
According to Rio, Nagas are ‘fully protected by Article 371 A and the existence of Nagaland as a state is not in question.’ He specifically mentioned point 16 of the 16-Point Agreement, which is incorporated in Article 371 A, allowing protection of Nagas’ “social practices, religion, customary law, civil and criminal justice ownership and transfer of the land.”
He said that the Supreme Court will protect the integrity of the country, while reminding that Nagas do not have the strength of number in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. “Therefore we all need to come together and protect ourselves and fight for our rights”, he said.
Rio said that all the members of the NLA were in agreement that the Citizenship Bill should be opposed.
On the issue of Naga integration, Rio said that six resolutions supporting Naga integration under six former chief ministers have already been made. Thus, any questions or doubts concerning the Naga integration are “invalid,” he said.
Rio also urged all concerned to participate actively and share their thoughts during the forthcoming meeting with RN Ravi.