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Nagaland celebrates 58th Statehood Day; launches 5-day virtual Hornbill Festival

cm takes salute
Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio taking the salute during the Statehood Day celebration at Kohima on December 1, 2020.

KOHIMA, DECEMBER 1: Amidst the boycott call of the Eastern Naga Students’ Federation (ENSF) comprising 6 major tribes, Nagaland is celebrating its 58th Statehood Day and also marked the inauguration of the first ever complete virtual Hornbill Festival on Tuesday.

It was on this day in 1963 that the then President of India, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan inaugurated Nagaland as the 16th State of the Indian Union and 2nd in the North East Region after Assam.
In his address during the main celebration at Secretariat Plaza here, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said, “As we celebrate this historic day, we remember with immense gratitude all those leaders, who by their sacrifices, foresightedness and determination ensured the creation of Nagaland State with special Constitutional provisions”.
Nagaland’s journey as a State since its creation, about 6 decades back, has been wonderful by any yardstick, Rio said.
“We have significant and enduring achievements to show in every field. We have seen development and progress, and the quality of life enjoyed by our people has seen a marked improvement, though many challenges still remain,” he said.
While the State has continued making every effort for all round progress of the State in every sphere, Naga peoples’ quest for the final solution to the long standing Naga Political Issue has also continued all along, said Rio.
“The long journey towards the final solution has passed many stretches and milestones,” he said while expressing “sincere” hope that this journey is finally reaching its ultimate destination.
“We all are aware that the negotiations between the various Naga Political Groups and the Government of India have seen a breakthrough with common ground being reached on various issues. We expect everyone to continue with the same spirit of understanding and oneness for moving forward to the eventual solution without any delay,” he said.
The CM reiterated that on October 15, to further facilitate the on-going negotiations, the State Government convened a consultative meeting with the representatives of all the Tribal Hohos, civil society organizations, political parties, ex-parliamentarians and various public leaders.
It was reiterated to every stakeholder, that there will be only one solution for the Naga Political Issue, he said.
The CM said that while Naga people remained steadfast in pursuit of the final solution to the Political Issue, the year till now has also seen a crisis of enormous magnitude in the form of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our preparations for combating the pandemic had been initiated early. We took every possible step to further develop and improve our entire health infrastructure. In a matter of a couple of months we managed to go from a State with nil testing capacity to 2600-3000 testing capacity per day,” he said.
Rio also claimed that there has been substantial improvement in the health facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases.
He cited that the number of ventilators in Government-run hospitals has increased from 14 in March 2020 to 145 now. The number of beds in isolation wards, ICU and non-ICU wards, in COVID Hospitals, and in COVID Care Centres has substantially increased in the last 8 months. The number of ambulances was also substantially increased and there are now 110 departmental ambulances.
The number of health professionals, so crucial in the entire scheme of things, has also seen a big increase, he said adding that the Government increased the strength of healthcare workers through recruitment of 109 medical doctors, 5 dental surgeons, 129 nurses, 6 research scientists, 6 laboratory technicians for BSI Laboratories, 10 OT technicians and 13 ECG technicians.
Nonetheless, Rio said people should also be aware that the threat of the pandemic still exists and the State cannot afford to lower its guard any time soon.
“We have to unfailingly continue wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, regular washing of hands, etc. and keep adhering to the health advisories and Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Government,” he said.
The CM also highlighted various initiatives and approaches made by the Government Departments towards enhancing the skills and employability of thousands of Naga youths returning from other states and also the agri and allied sector reforms during the pandemic period, besides the online education efforts.
“We, as a State, have come a long way since its creation as we have been able to build good capabilities in every sector, and our unified response in combating COVID-19 is a testimony of it,” he said.
However, the Chief Minister said that there are many developmental areas and sectors, where a lot remains to be done and together we need to continue with persistent efforts to ensure that Nagaland is at par with the rest of the States in the country.
The occasion was marked by March Past by personnel of State Police, Special Task Force and Mahila Battalion.
Later during the day, Raj Bhavan organized a special programme to unveil the bust of the president of Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC) Dr Imkongliba Ao to commemorate and honour the sacrifices of Nagas in the presence of only survivor of NPC, Dr S C Jamir, who has also been the longest serving Chief Minister of Nagaland and was subsequently fulfilled his responsibilities as the Governor of Goa, Maharashtra and Odisha.
Nonetheless, entry of private media persons to cover the programme in Raj Bhavan was denied.

Meanwhile, the 5-day virtual Hornbill Festival celebration also started on Tuesday.
In his message, Rio said the pandemic has created a new normal, and accordingly Nagaland is rewriting the tourism script by aligning the industry to the changed dynamics.
“Once the world reopens, Nagaland will be prepared with a tourism narrative, that is in tune with a post-COVID scenario and the Naga people will be ready to welcome tourists to this beautiful land,” said Rio.
(Page News Service)

PM Modi wishes people of Nagaland on statehood day
New Delhi, December 1: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended his wishes to the people of Nagaland on its statehood day.
“Greetings to my sisters and brothers of Nagaland on their Statehood Day. The people of Nagaland are known for their courage and kindness. Their culture is exemplary and so is their contribution to India’s progress. Praying for Nagaland’s continuous development,” he tweeted.
Nagaland, a border state in the country’s northeast region, is a diverse region and home to many tribes. It became a state in 1963. (PTI)