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Reconciliation, unity crux of Naga solution

By EMN Updated: Aug 16, 2013 1:22 am

Find an honourable settlement, based on the Covenant of Reconciliation and Naga Concordant

Our Correspondent

NAGALAND today joined the rest of the country in celebrating the 66th anniversary of the Independence of India. The Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio appealed to the Government of India to make the offer of a political settlement to the Naga people at the earliest so that permanent peace can come to Nagaland to usher a new era of development and progress. He said this, while unfurling the tri colour at the Secretariat Plaza, Kohoma . He also appealed to the various Naga Nationalist groups to listen to the voice of the people and to make sincere efforts towards finding an honourable settlement, based on the principles of reconciliation and unity outlined in the Covenant of Reconciliation signed on June, 13 2009 and the Naga Concordant signed on August 26, 2011 to which they were all signatories.
Rio said that the state government is determined to ensure the unique rights of the Naga people as enshrined in the Constitution of India under Article 371A is protected. In this regard, he pointed out that the state government has no intention to confront the government of India but to safeguard the ownership and the rights of the Naga people and to ensure advantageous utilization of the natural resources. The chief minister acknowledged the support extended by tribal Hohos, civil societies and NGOs of the state towards the decision of the state government in this matter.
While placing emphasis on the objectives and achievements of the DAN government and the initiatives which are on the pipeline on the economic front, Rio said the prospect of industrialization in the state has received a new impetus with the recent approval of the revised revival plan of Nagaland Pulp and Paper Mill, Tuli. He is hopeful that the successful revival of the mill will create an industrial climate and culture in the state, providing confidence to investors to set up other industries in Nagaland, which in turn, will open up vast opportunities for the people particularly the youth.
The chief minister also asserted that the state government is committed to the task of constructing a super highway along foothill areas of Nagaland from Tizit via Tuli and Dimapur town upto Khelma in Peren district with a perspective to connect the same to Khonsa (Arunachal) and to Haflong and Silchar in the south. Alongside, a parallel railway line is projected which the railway ministry at the Centre has already approved and included in the railway budget since 2011, he added. “It is envisaged that linear cities will evolve along this road and railway line, leading to urbanization and industrialization of Nagaland,” Rio stated.
He said the state government is embarking on a new policy of setting up Special Development Zones (SDZs) so as to further facilitate such development along the Nagaland foothills. He said special legislations will have to be taken up for this, in consultation with landowners and tribal hohos to suitable relax the land laws as well as ILP systems within SDZ demarcated areas. “This, together with other infrastructure development in the area, will in turn facilitate investment by industrialists, both from Nagaland and other parts of the country and the world,” Rio said.
He also stated that the government aims to convert the people of the state from being a consumer society to that of a producing society, and highlighted achievements and plans in the fields of agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry. “The state government has also outlined ‘Vision 2025’ document that envisages food security to all,” he said.
Maintaining that dreams and aspirations of the people will be “meaningless” unless there is peace in the land, the chief minister called upon all to collectively work towards achieving their dreams and visions. While acknowledging that there has been relative peace in the state owing to the cease-fire and the on-going peace process, he, however, lamented that a political settlement still eludes the people and they continue to live under an atmosphere of conflict. Rio urged upon all Naga nationalist groups to listen to the voice of the people and make sincere efforts to find an honorable settlement based on the principles of reconciliation and unity outlined in the Covenant of Reconciliation 2009 and the Naga Concordant 2011 to which they were all signatories. He also asserted that the Naga political problem is the problem of the people as a whole and called upon all to own and shoulder the responsibilities of resolving it so that a legacy of conflict will not passed on to future generations.
Meanwhile, on the state’s resources position, Rio said the yawning gap of over Rs.100 crores between the cost of power and the revenue earned by the power department is an area of concern. He asserted that while some losses are attributable to technical deficiencies, there is huge loss of revenue to power theft in the forms of rampant illegal activities like hooking, tempering of meters and bills and other means.
Along with reforms in the power sector, the government is also serious about generation in view of the acute power shortage in the state, he said, adding that the government is seriously considering taking up major hydro power projects at Dikhu, Tizu and Zungki.
On the educational front, Rio said special efforts are being given and 22 high schools are being upgraded to higher secondary schools to cater to the increasing number of students. “The government is also actively pursuing the establishment of various technical institutes in the state,” he said, mentioning the upgrading of Naga Hospital Kohima to a medical college, functioning of nursing college at CISHR Dimapur to expedite establishment of another medical college, pursuance of setting up a Maritime institute and an aviation academy in the private sector.
“All such initiatives also encompass the development of the less developed areas of the state, such as the eastern Nagaland areas,” the chief minister stated. He highlighted various initiatives and ongoing projects that are being undertaken for this area. He also pointed out that though the Planning Commission has already approved the annual plan 2012-13 where an amount of Rs.300 crores has been earmarked as special economic development package for eastern Nagaland, the finance ministry is yet to release the amount.
A total of 22 parade contingents participated in the Independence Day parade which was led by Deputy Commandant 10th IR Battalion Nikho Venuh and Assistant Commandant 10th IRB Sentilong. Other highlights of the celebration included Umbrella Dance by Nagaland Adolescent Girls’ Club, Bhangra Dance by 78th Bn. CRPF, Khukri Dance by 19th AR and cultural dances by cultural troupes of Longmisa, Khiamniungan, Tesophenyu and Old Shena villages. A host of state dignitaries including bureaucrats and other government officials attended the programme along with the general public.

Tri-color raised amidst ‘black’ protests by ENPO

Our Correspondent

Black flags and black badges marked the occasion of Independence Day in Mon, Tuensang, Longleng and Kiphire districts. This show of protest was in resentment against the State government for non-fulfilment of the demand for “Frontier Nagaland”, and the failure of the centre to hold a bilateral talk on the issue.
The Eastern Naga Peoples Organization (ENPO) steering this move had issued directive that celebrations would be observed peacefully but not happily.
Sources close to ENPO said that the four districts put on black flags on different locations expressing resentment over the failure of the Central government to call for a bilateral talk to settle the separate state demand put up by the ENPO since 2010.

By EMN Updated: Aug 16, 2013 1:22:34 am