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Issue of integration of contiguous Naga area still on the table: CM

Nagaland News

KOHIMA, SEPTEMBER 14: Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the issue of integration of contiguous Naga area is still on the table, but there is division and disunity among the Naga people.
Rio said Naga integration issue is still on the table but division among the underground and overground groups has thoroughly divided the Naga people. He said this during the Question Hour in the Assembly today. He said Naga people have been divided to a certain extent due to the overground divisive policies. He further said that the Nagas were divided into different areas without their consent. “We have become weaker and weaker day by day”, he added.
The Chief Minister said the Nagaland State adopted Mithun as its emblem to bring the Nagas together. “Mithun is a symbol of unity”, he added. He said even the 16-Point Agreement has mentioned about Naga integration and reserved forests which are already under Assam State. He partly blamed the Nagas for losing out reserve forests to Assam adding that Assam has established towns and villages in Nagas’ land, which would be impossible to claim back. He said leased out lands have all become Assam’s land due to the fault of the Nagas, as they have documents from the Assam Government. He asked people to be realistic with the current situation in the border areas adding that it would be difficult to get back those lands.
“We have lost huge land”, Rio said adding that claiming back of those lands would not be easy due to the occupational rights of the inhabitants. He was replying to a query raised by NPF legislator Achumbemo Kikon that Nagaland should not reserve forest and land to Assam.
On exploration and oil, natural gas and mineral resources, the Chief Minister said Nagaland has enough resources to stand on its own but regretted that due to opposition by some Naga militant groups and tribal hohos, the State Government is neither able to tap the natural sources nor share royalty on oil, with Assam Government which are along the disputed areas. “If we think political settlement would be more beneficial then we will have to wait for the settlement”, he added. But he was pessimistic and said the dreams of some sections of people could be far-fetched dream and talk and urged them to be more practical with the issues. “We should start exploiting oil, natural gas and resources. We can generate lots of revenue”, he said.
He said the State has rich deposit of mineral, oil and gas but this time round Assam is going to supply gas to Nagaland. “Nagaland is rich but we remain poor”, the Chief Minister lamented.
Rio expressed hope that once the Naga political is amicably resolved all other issues can be resolved one by one.
Former Home Minister and BJP lawmaker Imkong L Imchen urged for a collective thought on mineral and border issues. “For the Nagas we don’t have dispute with Assam”, he said. He also said boundary issue should be resolved based on ground realities.
(Page News Service)