Dimapur, July 9: Governor of Nagaland P B Acharya today said that the recent re-positioning of North East Council into a Council for conflict resolution, development planning and knowledge hub is welcome, but added that the region still lacks behind in terms of development in comparison to other states/region of the country.
Participating in the 67th plenary of the North East Council at Shillong, Acharya, however, said care should be taken not to reduce NEC to mere recommending body and a knowledge hub without necessary resources. He said the recommendations of EFC (Expenditure Finance Committee) for continuation of NEC Schemes till 2020 only needs re-examination.
He also mentioned that the Northeastern States, particularly Nagaland, with meager resources depend on the NEC and DoNER for assistance for implementation of important projects and programs which are outside the funding pattern of the Ministries of Government of India.
On the agriculture sector of the region, the Governor said the biggest constraint for agri and allied sector in Nagaland is the market linkage and storage. He said the natural advantage of the region in the area of organic farming can be turned into real wealth by providing necessary support and infrastructure for storage, marketing and processing.
Stating the certified organic products fetch higher income for the producers, he urged the NEC to come forward to help the states in getting their food products certified as organic and brand building in value chain mode linking producers and consumers.
He said with immense potential for horticulture crops, besides processing and packaging, for systematic development of horticulture in the region it is also felt that the Central Institute of Horticulture, Dimapur should be strengthened and upgraded to full fledged regional institute for Horticulture.
On the power sector, the Governor said the power needs of the Northeast states should be seriously examined and fulfilled. He stated that Nagaland is facing serious power deficit, adding the state generates only 26 MW against the peak requirement of 115 MW.
The Governor informed that in order to overcome this acute shortage, the State has taken up various initiatives such as 186 MW Dikhu hydro project, 30 MW Tizu and 36 MW Zungki projects.
Further, on a pilot basis, the State has introduced smart metering and pre-paid meters in certain localities for improving efficiency and reducing losses. To enable coverage of the entire State, the Governor anticipated support of NEC.
Acharya pointed out that though the state is advantageously placed in terms of availability of human resource in the working age group, it has become a challenge due to lack of organized private sector in the state to absorb the growing number of youths and a saturated government sector.
He said to be gainfully employed, these youths need to be imparted with the right skills in conjunction with the ground realities of the region.
The Governor suggested with their command over the English language, their flair and pleasing personalities, besides others, skill development in tourism and hospitality, aviation, nursing, para -medics, wellness industry, music and entertainment, IT and the BPOs, sports, therapists, and specialized skills in automobile sector and in the construction sector can be considered.
On connectivity of the region, he said in Nagaland the major challenge of road connectivity is not only construction but maintenance given its topography, gradient, instable soil condition and heavy rainfall. Construction and maintenance of roads in the state requires huge investment of resources, he added.
He said the potential of the state can be harnessed to make it a hub of economic activity through tourism and agri and allied activities to promote economic development and to generate employment opportunities. However, he said unless connectivity is improved, these potentials would continue to be latent, therefore, the issue of better connectivity therefore has to be addressed in all seriousness.
The Governor also urged the forum to form a committee of local experts and users to help in identifying constraints in transforming the situation.
Stating that Kohima is the only state capital in the country without an airport, the Governor urged that the proposed Greenfield airport for Kohima (Chiethu) be expeditiously taken up. (Page News Service)