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People of eastern Nagaland need special focus – Rio

By EMN Updated: Feb 24, 2021 10:50 pm

Says Nagaland and the Naga society will never be complete without the eastern Nagas

Neiphiu Rio received by the leaders of ENPO during the occasion of its Silver Jubilee held in Tobu on Wednesday. (CMO, Nagaland)

Dimapur, Feb. 24 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday acknowledged the people of eastern Nagaland for their contributions to the state in various fields but said the region needs “special focus so that we can bring them on par with the rest of Naga society as early as possible”.

Rio was speaking at the silver jubilee celebration of Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) at Tobu town on Wednesday.

Congratulating ENPO on behalf of the state government, the chief minister said the leaders who laid a strong foundation and guided the organisation thus far should be commended. He also said that it is an occasion to look back and introspect on the past decades.

He recalled that the eastern part of Nagaland remained totally unadministered in the pre-independence days before an administrative centre was established at Tuensang in 1948 and brought under the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) as the Tuensang Frontier Division, where his late father-in-law O Kathipri served in various capacities, as Political Officer, Additional District Magistrate and Deputy Commissioner between 1956 and 1964.

Neiphiu Rio speaks at the ENPO Silver Jubilee event at Tobu on Wednesday. (CMO, Nagaland)

While pointing out that the region has been bifurcated into five districts, including Noklak that was inaugurated last month, with 20 legislators in the 60-member state assembly and a literacy rate is 68.7% against the state’s 79.5%, the chief minister said the region may be tagged as backward, “due to shortfalls in infrastructure, and deficits in human development parameters, but the people and the citizens of these areas are not in any way backward”.

Rio said the people of eastern districts are proud contributing members of the society and add to the rich diversity and the proud culture and heritage of the Naga people. “Nagaland and the Naga society will never be complete without the eastern Nagas,” he said, adding that they had made significant contributions and sacrifices in the journey of the Naga people.

As their fellow tribes also inhabit in Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar, he said “the message of a unified Naga family must be sounded from here to the rest of the greater Naga community”.

“Destiny and our adversaries have kept us divided while man-made boundaries have kept us separated from each other. It is the desire of the Nagas to live under a common administrative umbrella as members of the same family. This desire is democratic and we must pursue it in a peaceful manner,” he said, while urging the people to renew their efforts towards unity and oneness.

Terming the unresolved Indo-Naga political imbroglio as the “most important issue before us” that is obstructing development, the chief minister said “we must make every possible effort to facilitate a political solution during our time, for the sake of the present and future generations”. He also lauded the ENPO for their participation and contributions during the consultative meet on the Naga political issue held last year and expressed the need for all stakeholders of the political movement to rise above differences and work for one common Naga cause.

Rio said that the people of eastern Nagaland have come a long way, from being “unadministered” as recently as the 1940s to producing many leaders in various areas, bureaucrats, officers, cultural ambassadors, sportspersons and artistes among others.

“At the same time, it is also a fact that, there is still a long way to go on all fronts of development and human progress,” he said.

Neiphiu Rio launches ENPO Silver Jubilee Souvenir at Tobu on Wednesday. (CMO, Nagaland)

“It should be our collective aim to work together so that we overcome the lost years in a unified manner in order to meet the aspirations of the people in the most successful manner,” he added while reminding the potential of the state to excel in agri and allied sector.

Stating that quality education, reliable healthcare, and sustainable economy under an environment of political and social stability are the basic parameters of human development and progress, Rio urged the leaders of the eastern regions to invest their resources in their own districts before looking towards Kohima, Dimapur and beyond.

“Investments will create economic growth, generate employment and open new opportunities for the youth. We must keep in mind that, while the government has a great role to play, it must be supported side by side through people’s initiatives and private enterprise,” he said while encouraging the officers, government employees and professionals to “inculcate a willingness to work and serve in your own difficult areas”.

However, he said “investments in infrastructure, improvements in human resources and creation of facilities to improve the capacity of the population are just some of the many urgent needs” and that the government has undertaken several measures like creation of new districts, creation of a dedicated development department and increasing funds for the region.

Informing that the foundation for a new Medical College in Mon will be laid in the next few days, Rio sought co-operation from everyone to make the long-cherished dream a reality in the earliest time possible. “We must also understand that a medical college can only function if we have a faculty and staff to operate it and therefore efforts must now begin to ensure that Mon is a viable place for professionals to come and work under a social environment that is conducive for all sections,” he added.

He said the ‘real journey has just begun’ while thanking the people of Mon, state government departments and GoI for their support.

Reservations must benefit the real targeted sections

Speaking on the reservation policy, the chief minister said the people should ask ourselves “whether some of the initiatives aimed at empowering the people have served the purpose effectively”.

“Reservations must benefit the grassroots and elevate their lives in a meritorious and just manner so that the creamy layers are not beneficiaries of policies that are meant to uplift the weaker sections. Let us put our heads together and evolve mechanisms that will benefit our people. We must be prepared to take paradigm shifts, think out of the box and innovate with creativity so as to overcome the hurdles that come in the way of progress. The onus is on the new generation of youth and the leaders of the day to rise to the occasion and deliver the goods without bias,” he said.

“Meritocracy and use of modern technology are the only ways to combat governance challenges. I urge the youth to support good governance initiatives, strengthen measures that are aimed at rewarding merit, and play the role of responsible citizens that keep policy makers and implementers with checks and balances. It is such collective teamwork that will ensure a bright future and a just society,” he added.

By EMN Updated: Feb 24, 2021 10:50:48 pm