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Resolution to set up NSDZs passed

By EMN Updated: Mar 25, 2014 12:09 am

Principal Correspondent

THE Nagaland Legislative Assembly today passed a historic resolution to set up the Nagaland Special Development Zones (NSDZs), despite the members from opposition bench and some from the ruling expressing that ownership of land should not be given to non-Nagas as it would infringe the right of the Naga people guaranteed under Article 371(A) of the Constitution.The resolution to promote and facilitate faster growth of industrialization and urbanization in the foothill areas of the state, which was presented by Minister for Planning & Coordination, Evaluation and Geology & Mining, T R Zeliang on Saturday was adopted by voice vote.
Congress Legislature Party Leader Tokheho Yepthomi while expressing that it is high time for the state to start such activities, appreciated the Leader of the House and Minister in-charge for moving the resolution in the House.He however suggested that since the Land Acquisition Bill has been passed in the Parliament, the state government should grant proper compensation to the landowners in the area. He also suggested that while framing the rules of NSDZs utmost care should be taken so it has no ramifications on Article 371(A).
He also pleaded that NSDZs should not be another Industrial Growth Centre Ganesh Nagar where Government had purchased 1000 acres of land and invested crores of rupees for infrastructure development but it was only a lost to the government. He also said that law and order problem in the state should be resolved so that investors can freely come to the state.
He also strongly rejected the resolution which expresses to grant ownership of land to non-Nagas, stating that even if investors come they should be given land on lease, be it for a period of 100 years, but not the ownership of land.
MLA C. Apok Jamir said that as party, Congress is not opposed to the resolution as it is for the fastergrowth of industries and urbanization in Nagaland.
Nonetheless, he too feared dilution of Article 371(A) stating the Constitutional guarantee on ownership of land and its property was included with a view to protect the traditional inheritance of the forefathers. He also called upon the House to be pragmatic and think seriously lest posterity never forgives the house for its decision taken today.
“We don’t want to be another Tripura or Manipur by giving the ownership of land to non-Nagas,” Apok quipped.
NCP MLA, Dr. TM Lotha also spoke on similar lines terming the proposal as “very good” for development, but feared that it would be like giving protection to the non-Nagas by giving the ownership of land. “Are we not infringing upon Article 371(A),” he said while also apprehending that the resolution would be misunderstood by Naga people. Dr. Lotha also agreed on leasing the land instead of giving the ownership to the non-Nagas.
Congress MLA Hukavi said it is directly or indirectly infringement and the House is forgetting its importance while also contradicting Article 371(A). He said the government should go to the people first and discuss whether it was acceptable to all sections of the people. MLA Imtikumjuk expressed “we don’t want to see another township like Dimapur, Nagas cannot exert power on their own land.
Minister for Roads & Bridges and Parliamentary Affairs, Kuzholuzo Nienu acknowledging the concern of the Members, suggested modification of ownership to leasing out and that would solve the problem.
Responding to the apprehensions of the members, Leader of the House, Neiphiu Rio said that several consultations have already been held with the tribal hohos through the Deputy Commissioners in the districts. So far, he said, there has not been objections, rather people are happy that their areas will be development. Some areas have already been given the no objection certificate as they want to grow township and commercial hub.
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Maintaining that Nagas have a salaried economy while the state is only a consumer society and not producing society, he asserted that NSDZ is to facilitate and give opportunities to the Naga youths for entrepreneurship and employment opportunities and also for non-Nagas to invest and develop the state.
He reiterated that once ownership or land pattas are issued, Nagas also can take loan from the banks and financial institutions to take up major business, which is not possible presently. “If we don’t want to open our doors no one will come, more so because of the unresolved Naga political issue,” he said, citing that our neighbor Assam has developed so much, but people (investors) run away from us.
“Our state is not progressing because we are playing politics of jealousy, revenge and hatred and we are self-centred,” he said while requesting the house to welcome and understand the resolution without fearing anything.
He also affirmed that “the government is very careful about Article 371(A) and very much conscious that it is the only protection for Naga people”.
Minister for T R Zeliang making a statement in the floor of the Assembly said, the decision to open up Nagaland for grand investments along the foothills for macro-economic activities is a historic one.
He also asserted the House that the suggestions can be incorporated after the HPC frames the rules and regulation for NSDZs and places before the House in the next session. Subsequently the House passed the resolution by voice vote.

By EMN Updated: Mar 25, 2014 12:09:33 am