Says Art 371(A) & ILP protects State from CAB
Kohima, January 26: Despite the boycott call from Naga students’ bodies against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and Yung Aung-led NSCN(K), Nagaland on Saturday joined the Nation in celebrating 70th Republic Day.
While celebrations were peaceful without any reports of untoward incident from any quarters, the absence of students’ community and also general public not coming forward to participate in the celebrations left the venues empty.
Even the presence of Government employees were thin with the sitting arena marked for Administrative Heads of Departments and Heads of Departments at the main celebrations in the Secretariat Plaza remaining vacant.
There were also thin attendance at the Republic Day celebrations in other district headquarters and sub-divisions, with the general public staying away following boycott call by students’ body in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.
Unfurling the National Tri-colour of the main celebration in presence of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Speaker in-charge Zhaleo Rio and other dignitaries, Governor P B Acharya said “in order to protect and safeguard the historic and unique cultural traditions and customary practices of the Nagas, special constitutional provisions under Article 371(A) were incorporated in the Constitution of India”.
These special provisions, he reminded, not only safeguard the rights of the people of Nagaland but also give an opportunity for the people to grow and develop according to their own genius.
Stating that the State Government is concerned with the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Bill which was recently passed by the Lok Sabha, he said, “we are of the unequivocal view that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 is not applicable to Nagaland and we stand protected under the provisions of Article 371 (A) of Constitution of India and the Inner Line Permit mechanism as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 which was reaffirmed as Clause 16 of the 16 Point Agreement”.
The Governor on behalf of the people of State further appealed to the Centre to have wider consultations with all North Eastern States to ensure that the rights of the indigenous people are fully protected.
“We have also decided to refer the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 to the Standing Committee on Article 371 (A) under the Nagaland Legislative Assembly to examine the issues in its entirety,” he reiterated.
Maintaining that the top priority of the State Government has been the final settlement of the Naga polecat issue, the Governor said “we have committed to play the role of an active facilitator in the ongoing political negotiations between the Centre and the Naga political groups”.
He said that with the concerted efforts of the Tribal Hohos and its apex bodies, the Church, civil society, NGOs and the NNPGs, different groups have now come together and this seems to be the most opportune time for the Naga political groups to resolve the seven decades old Naga political issue once and for all.
While the quest for a final settlement continues, Acharya said “the Government is also committed to ensure Good Governance and Development in the State and it is committed to keep citizens as the prime focus.
Updated websites of the Government departments has made governance more accessible to the people through the use of technology, he said while maintaining that the CM Dashboard gives the real-time status of all major schemes and programs and was recently awarded by the Indian Express Group as one of the best use of technological applications.
On the law and order front, the Governor said the State is by and large peaceful with police and administration taking remarkable steps in strengthening law enforcement mechanism and security of the citizens.
Stating that education and welfare of students is one of the most important priorities of the Government, he said besides the implementation of various Centrally Sponsored scholarship schemes, the State Government is encouraging meritorious students and research scholars by awarding State Merit and Research Scholarship.
For the welfare of SSA & RMSA teachers, he said scale pay has been approved even though funding for the same has been restricted to fixed amounts by Government of India.
The Governor said in a move of the PDA Government to promote sports in the State, Dimapur hosted the first ever Ranji Trophy Match for Nagaland and Nagaland cricket team made a record by winning their first ever match last year.
We are also observing Dr. T. Ao Centenary Year and work on Dr. T. Ao Football Academy at Dimapur is being initiated while the prestigious Dr. T. Ao North East Football Tournament will be hosted this year, he informed.
Sports infrastructure facilities have been augmented by construction of outdoor stadiums at Pughoboto and Mon while with installation of Astro Turf at I.G Stadium, Kohima, the capital is ready to host national and international matches and tournaments, the Governor said.
Stating that the Government is looking at constraints of getting investment in the State, he said the State is devising means for new land record and land use policy. “We intend to revise our power policy to facilitate investment in the hydro power sector and we have set up the Investment and Development Authority of Nagaland to help set all these into motion,” he said.
On skill development, he said, the Nagaland Tool Room and Training Centre Dimapur has been upgraded with new streams for vocational training of the youth. Nagaland Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Society has been formed and MoUs signed with 12 training partners for ensuring skill training and upgradation, he said.
Under Swachh Bharat, he said the State has done remarkably well with funds received from Government of India and rural Nagaland has already been declared Open Defecation Free.
Acharya said that the Government is committed to the welfare of farmers and promotion of horticulture and allied agriculture activities for doubling the income of farmers. “We are focusing on organic farming to ensure better returns for our farmers. We have to see that our organic food gets a good market and growers/farmers are economically strengthened,” he said.
He also informed that on January 19, the state launched the FOCUS – Fostering upland Agriculture System Project – in association with International Fund for Agriculture Development with the objective of improving farming in the State.
The State Government has also banned all single use plastics below 50 microns with effect from December 1 last year and is taking measures to make Nagaland plastic-free, he said.
With special focus on economic development in the Eastern Nagaland region, the Governor said the DUDA Department had established Anghya Market Linkage Hubs in all the District HQs of Mon, Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire and created the “ANGHYA” brand and labels for packaging, marketing and linkages with outlets in and outside the State which is under process.
The Governor disclosed that a Cabinet Meeting held in the Aspirational District of Kiphire on November 9 has decided to extend the model of better monitoring and supervision of Government and schemes to all districts by identifying one Aspirational Block in each of the remaining ten districts.
He also said that the State Government has taken up several innovation concepts and ideas with the aim of promoting the state’s tourism in a sustainable manner while there is need to strengthen and encourage affordable hotels and also restaurants that cater to the needs of pure vegetarians.
Accepting that Science and Technology and Information Technology occupies prime importance for our youth with potential avenues, he said while an Innovation Hub and Space Education Centre and Planetarium was inaugurated at Dimapur last year and an Innovation Hub and Digital Planetarium at Kohima is scheduled to be launched by March this year.
To boost socio-economic development of the State, he said special thrust is directed on improvement of road communication infrastructures, through Special Road Programmes, NABARD-RIDF, PMGSY and GoI funding under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. Six additional roads of 795 Km stretch have been approved “in principle” to be brought under National Highway, he said.
In the power sector, augmentation of power supply to bridge the critical gaps between demand and supply of power has been taken up by upgradation of existing 100 MVA to 200 MVA at Dimapur while laying of 220KV D/C Transmission line from Dimapur-Zhadima is in good progress, he said.
Highlighting some of the achievements of the new PDA Government during the past 10 months and also programs ahead, the Governor said “we cannot afford to be complacent”.
The State needs to set up more infrastructural facilities and maintain them and also create employment opportunities for the people to enable them to be economically self-reliant, he said.
Stating that it is up to each and every one of us to come together and work collectively towards achieving this goal, the Governor called upon the people of Nagaland to come forward and join hands with the Government so that “we can march together towards all-round development”.
Acharya also made a special appeal to all educated youth to strengthen village economy and contribute to make Nagaland a vibrant economically self-sufficient, prosperous and Golden Nagaland. “We have human resources & natural resources and as such we can be an equal partner in the comity of all 29 States of India,” he said while calling upon to be torchbearers of unity, peace and reconciliation to the rest of the country and the world.
Altogether 10 parade contingents and three bands took part in the Republic Day march past led by Deputy Commandant Denyong as parade commander and assistant commandant Lucy Yhome as second in-charge. The celebration was marked by cultural presentations by various tribal troupes and exhibition of different activities of the government departments.
During the day, charitable organizations, including Kohima Press Club extended philanthropic services at various institutions such as orphanages, hospitals, jail, counseling and rehabilitation centres. (Page News Service)