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Functionally opposition-less Assembly deliberates on issues confronting Nagaland

Nagaland News

KOHIMA, MARCH 23: Even as the newly formed Nagaland Assembly though undeclared but is functionally ‘opposition-less’, Members actively debated on the Governor’s Address on the floor of the House today making the session livelier on various issues confronting the State.
While all political parties and Independent MLAs are extending support to the ruling NDPP-BJP alliance, the legislators on Thursday raised issues including joint efforts to resolve Naga Political Issue, conduct of Urban Local Bodies elections, road sector, Police Department’s role, human-animal conflict, medical college, engineering college, organic products and also the Government’s 5-year plan for the State’s overall welfare.
Initiating the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s Address delivered to the House on March 21, NPF MLA Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu asked the Government to highlight the Government policies and programme and also bring out the vision for next 5 years on human resource development, agriculture, industrial development, healthcare, etc.
He also requested the Ministers and Advisors in-charge of the Departments to judiciously use the funds allocated for visible development while also cutting their percentage to help contractors to carry out the works properly.
Expressing concern on the influx of illegal immigrants into the State, Azo asked the Government to be serious to bring strong policies, especially on ILP. “We have been sleeping over the issue of illegal immigrants for too long while our metro cities have become a breeding ground for all the illegal immigrants”, he said while fearing that Nagaland would soon become like Tripura where the indigenous tribal people have become minority.
Critically taking on the Home Department, Azo suggested that all appointments/recruitment in the Police Force should be only through the Open Recruitment process.
Maintaining that most of the officers want to only serve in Dimapur and Kohima while the interior areas are neglected, he suggested that the State should be divided in tough/soft areas and there should be a policy wherein every officer is posted a for minimum period in interior areas as well.
Pointing that a large component of the Police Force is utilised in providing Bodyguards/House guards to all type of people, he said there is no force available for genuine police works therefore a clear policy on providing Bodyguards/House Guards should be brought about.
Seeking no political interference in the transfers or during the investigation of cases or disciplinary proceedings against Police personnel, Azo suggested that the most important and immediate requirement is to constitute a Directorate of Prosecution, so that independent and sufficient Public Prosecutors are available.
He also appealed to the Government to review the budget allocation of the Police Department as it has not been done for the last many years.
On Naga Political Issue, Azo stated that NPF champions the cause of Naga Political Issue. Substantiating his claims, he said in the year 1963 the Democratic Party of Nagaland was formed under the chairmanship of A Kevichusa in view of the troubled situations and conflicts between India and Nagas.
He therefore called upon all 60 Members to walk the talk and bring about a logical conclusion to the Naga Political Issue and that this should be initiated from day one and not at the fag end of the tenure.
Azo also stressed on the need to bring Naga Political Issue to a logical conclusion within a year’s time while legislators should be ready to vacate their seats in order to allow the interim Government to take over if an acceptable, honorable and inclusive agreement comes about.
NPF secretary general and MLA Achumbemo Kikon, in his maiden participation in the House, said NPF went to the election with the objective of solving the NPI and therefore they would continue to take up the issue.
Highlighting the history of Naga movement, he said NPF believes that unless the Naga political issue is resolved, “Nagas will be reducing themselves to a small people” because now also Naga people are talking about Nagas of Nagaland or Assam or Manipur or Arunachal or Myanmar. He feared that a day may come when Nagas will start speaking as Nagas of Kohima or Wokha or any other districts.
Nagas are not a small people and if Nagas in Burma and those spread over other States in India are integrated, we are as big as European nations like Denmark, Netherland, Belgium and Switzerland, he said adding that if these nations can progress and be one of the most advanced countries, Nagas cannot be laid back.
Saying that the NLA has passed 6 resolutions on Naga integration, Kikon suggested passing a same resolution in the ongoing first session of the House.
He said that solution to NPI is not only in the interest of the Nagas but also the GoI because implementation of the Act East Policy of the Centre passes through the Naga inhabited areas in Myanmar.
Touching on human animal conflict, he requested the Department of Forest, Environment and Climate Change to immediately check the increasing elephant attack on the villages in Bhandari area of Wokha district.
Kikon also raised concern on Foothill Road (trans-Nagaland highway) being reduced from over 390 Kms (Tizit to Khelma in Peren district) to 320 Km.
Appreciating the Government’s determination to establish the Medical College Kohima which is long overdue, he however said that the Government has become a little too ambitious in attempting to convert it into a Central Institute such as RIMS. “Let us first start the institute, let us see the Medical College with our own eyes and feel it with our own hands and then talk about converting RIMS instead of being over ambitious.”
Also pointing out that there is no mention of Medical College Mon in the Governor’s Address, he asked if it has been dropped.
On the ULB election, Kikon said the NPF Government tried to hold it in 2017 per directive of the SC but the response from the civil society was very violent. Civil societies and organisations have been asking for an amendment which has not been responded to, he pointed out while saying that if the present Government goes ahead it would create further division.
Requesting the Government to keep it on hold the ULB elections so as not to repeat the 2017 episode, he urged the Government to rethink on the notification and hold broad based discussion with civil societies.
NDPP Minister G Kaito Aye said though the House has been discussing the Naga Issue for past many years it has not come to an end till today although the Government has been trying its best for its resolution.
“The ball is in the court of the negotiators”, he said while also appealing to Members not to be too critical as nobody can expect a miracle to happen but only request the negotiators to resolve it at the earliest.
On Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, he said the Government has been talking about sufficiency in meat production as most Nagas are meat eaters but till date it is not sufficient. Appreciating Phek district for banning import of meat, he asked the Department to follow up the measures implemented by the district and take it to other districts for meat sufficiency and also bring about a stable economy in the State.
He also enquired about the status of Veterinary College in Jalukie while also requesting to expedite the Mon Medical College and also making the first Government Polytechnic in the State at Khelhose functional a full-fledged engineering college.
BJP Advisor Imkong L Imchen expressed hope that the new NLA composed of 31 old and 29 new members will be able to deliver goods to the people with all sincerity.
On Naga political issue, Imchen suggested that while honourable, acceptable and inclusive solution is the hope of the Nagas, “we cannot be over critical over the issue as the House has passed several resolutions in the past to bring the issue to an amicable settlement”.
“We are 60 in number but one on the issue and still reiterate it”, he said.
He also agreed with the BJP Northeast in-charge Ram Madav statement made in 2018 “election for solution”, saying that in 2015 the Government of India led by Prime Minister entered into the Framework Agreement with the NSCN-IM, the original peace process initiator since 1997.
With the signing of the Agreement, everyone was fully confident that NPI will come to an amicable solution, he said.
“Over the years both sides created several hurdles on the way to resolving the NPI while it cannot be a one-way traffic as it is a negotiation between the two parties and if there is failure both should be equally blamed and not one.
“Negotiation is conducted with GoI by the parent body and therefore the approach should be realistic and rational and acceptable to both the parties”, he said adding “There should be a spirit of accommodation from both the parties on the principle of flexible diplomacy of give and take.”
Imchen also expressed hope that the new Assembly will remain committed to the assurance to play a proactive role in the days to come.
On PWD (RB), he said the road sector projection for 3 successive financial years is ongoing projects but the new Government should have new projects.
He also said that the 320 km foothill road is very important. He reminded the Government that in the last House it was agreed that it will be taken as a solo project of the State to the NEC and DoNER but now it is with MoRTH. Saying that the road is economically, commercially and politically important, he requested the Government to take up the Foothill Road construction within this financial year and make it a reality to bring greatest relief and happiness to the people of Nagaland.
On Higher & Technical Education, he supported Minister Kaito Aye and urged the Government to accord sanction to Khelhoshe Polytechnic, Atoizu, as a full-fledged engineering college at the earliest.
On ULB elections, Imchen opined that the 3rd Amendment of 2016 should be properly incorporated in the Act. He also suggested that the amendments which have already been made in 2016 be corrected from mere “shall be omitted” to “shall be deemed to have been omitted”.
First timers, BJP Minister P Bashangmongba Chang, LJP (RV) MLA Dr Sukhato A Sema along with Advisor Mhathung Yanthan also participated in the debate and put forth constructive suggestions for the State’s overall welfare.
(Page News Service)