Nagaland celebrates 60th Statehood Day
Nagaland CM calls for doing away with differences & uphold common identity
KOHIMA, DECEMBER 1: On Nagaland’s 60th statehood day, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today stressed on doing away with the differences and have a common identity while also unitedly pursuing greater goals and achievements, including the hope for an early political solution.
Addressing the main celebrations, held at the State Civil Secretariat here, Rio said, “It is our duty to not let our differences overwhelm our common identity and be united in our pursuit for greater goals and achievements”.
Rio said the present generation needs to remember that it is their bounden duty to those who sacrificed and worked hard to build on the foundations laid and progress further on this path of development and peace.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister said the Naga people also remain mindful of the NPI, “the final settlement of which we continue to wait for”.
Stating that it is an issue that predates Statehood and has seen efforts by generations of Naga people for its resolution, Rio, expressed optimism that encouraging progress has been made in the last few years.
“Each one of us is now more hopeful than ever of a solution”, the CM said while appealing to all Naga Political groups, the Government of India and all others concerned “to seize the moment, walk the extra mile, reach out to everyone in the spirit of understanding in the truest sense and make the long-cherished dream of the Naga people a reality by bringing the solution without any further delay”.
Lamenting that Nagaland has had a very difficult time owing to a long running insurgency and unsettled Political Issue, Rio however said that the past many years, with the efforts of administration, police and all the security agencies, has been an era of peace and tranquillity.
He expressed happiness that in April this year, observing the continuous improvement in the law and order situation in the State, the area of coverage of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) saw a reduction for the first time in decades, with the Central Government lifting 15 Police Station areas out of the purview of AFSPA in Nagaland.
“We have geared ourselves up for taking full responsibility for all the areas which have been taken out of AFSPA and we are sure that with the situation becoming even better, Central Government will consider bringing out more areas from AFSPA in the near future”, he said.
Rio called upon citizens to be proud that the State continues to be among those States whose crime rates are the lowest in the country.
Further, maintaining that ever since Statehood Nagaland has made significant achievements on all parameters of development, Rio said the people are the greatest strength and resource of the State.
They are naturally talented and skilful and today our people are not only involved in agriculture but also in trade, construction, service industry and are entrepreneurs providing employments to thousands, he said.
He affirmed that development of human resources has been a focus area of the Government.
In the last six decades, Nagaland has seen giant strides being taken for creation of educational and technical institutions for human resources development and starting from 593 schools and 2 colleges in the early years of Statehood, Nagaland now has 2718 schools and 69 Colleges, he said.
The State now has 3 Engineering Colleges and 9 Government Polytechnics in the State, while at the time of Statehood we had none, he said.
A medical college, which was sorely missed by the State for a long time, is soon going to become a reality while the application for obtaining permission from the Medical Commission to start admission of students in the Kohima Medical College from academic year 2023-24 has been filed, he said.
Health is the greatest asset of an individual, he said, adding that the delivery of health services has therefore also remained a focus area of the State Government in the pursuit for enabling the people.
At the start, Nagaland had less than 100 doctors whereas now there are 1235 doctors registered with Nagaland Medical Council, he said, adding there were only around 60 health facilities but now there are 775 health facilities in the Government sector and 99 private healthcare establishments.
“Our State, which six decades back had only 2000 kilometer of road network, now boasts a road network of over 14,000 kilometer, with 1630.88 kilometer as national highways. We have added another 2,500 kilometer in the last five years”, he said.
Affirming to continue the endeavor to taking roads to every nook and corner of the State, he thanked the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for their assistance as well for taking up road construction work on some important routes in the State.
“We have started work on one of the most ambitious road project of our State, the ‘Foothill Road’ and considering the enormous benefits that it is likely to bring to our people, we have also been pursuing with the Government of India for its funding”, he announced.
Expressing that electricity and its supply to each part of the State is another very crucial element for the overall economic development, he said at the time of Statehood, only two villages in two district headquarters had seen electricity but now cent percent villages covered with electricity supply, the first State in Northeast to achieve such a feat.
In recent years by construction of more sub stations, transmission and distribution lines, the reliability, stability and distribution to all consumers both in urban and rural areas, are being continuously upgraded and improved, he said.
Conveying that steps are also being taken to enhance generation capacity, he said the State Government has initiated development of two medium Hydro Electric Projects ~ 42 MW Lower Tizu Hydro Electric Power (HEP) and 24 MW Zungki HEP.
The development of these two hydro generation projects will ease the financial burden of the State for power purchase and will also greatly contribute towards energy security for the State, he hoped.
While large proportion of the population in Nagaland is still engaged in agriculture and allied activities, Rio said the Government, through constant endeavor of farmers and various interventions, successfully started harnessing the immense potential of Nagaland State as a producer of quality organic agricultural and horticultural products.
The overall production of food grains in the last six decades has also seen a good jump by about 12 times to more than 7.5 lakh MT now, the key fact which stands out, and places the entire agriculture eco system on a different pedestal, is that, 70% of the agricultural practice has continued to be traditional and organic, he said.
Good quality agricultural and horticultural produce of Nagaland has good demand in the market, he said while calling upon everyone concerned, more so farmers, to build upon the great advantage that the State has and strive to make Nagaland one of the premier States in regard to organic farm and horticulture produce.
In Sports, he said Nagaland is slowly but surely marching ahead towards achieving excellence in the sporting arena. In the recently concluded 2nd North East Olympic Games at Shillong, Naga athletes shone as never before, winning 79 medals in all.
“Our youth have always been second to none in talent, dedication, the zeal to succeed, and handle adversities. They only require the right mentoring, facilities and the requisite infrastructure which we are providing and will continue to do with even more commitment”, he said.
The CM said that in order to bring about rapid improvement in the quality of life and furthering the ease of living, the Government continues to give full thrust to all the various public welfare schemes and programmes in operation in the State with the collaboration and assistance of the Central Government so as to achieve saturation in every scheme at the earliest possible.
In terms of policy and regulatory ecosystems the State Government has prioritized ease of doing business and simplification of regulatory framework and compliance burden for investors by developing a single window system to facilitate private investments, he said.
In this, Rio encouraged young Nagas to be successful entrepreneurs and create unicorns out of start-ups towards which the Government has set up Entrepreneur Development Centres in schools and colleges and have 5 incubators which have 59 registered start-ups creating 300 plus employment.
“We want our talented youth and entrepreneurs to not only explore opportunities within the State but also look beyond the borders of the State. For, in the modern world, opportunities beckon us from across the country and the world”, he said.
Conveying sincere greetings on the occasion, the CM said Nagaland has come a long way since Statehood.
“We have persistently progressed on the path of development and for achieving an improved standard of living for our people”, said Rio.
Marking the occasion, CM Rio with Deputy CM Patton, in-charge of Home, also launched the mobile application and booklet for Project Sahyog of Nagaland Police, flagged off the 44 vehicles of Nagaland Police Special Operation Group and also handed over loan sanction letters of SBI through Business Association of Nagas amounting to Rs 4.57 crore to 11 entrepreneurs from Tuensang, Longleng, Wokha and Dimapur districts.
CM Rio’s wife Kaisa Rio, State Assembly Speaker Sharingain Longkumer, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, galaxy of Ministers and legislators, top bureaucrats and police officers were among the dignitaries attending the celebration which was marked by colourful cultural dance by the various Naga cultural troupes, Women Resource Development Department, children choir by School Education Department and combined musical presentation by NPTS Brass Band, 15th NAP(IR) Mahila Police Band and NP Auxiliary Brass Band.
Eight parade contingents of the Nagaland Police, IR Battalion, Mahila, Rangers, Village Guards and Brass bands participated in the Statehood Day march past.
As directed by Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO), Village Guards of the eastern districts participated wearing their uniform and not their traditional attires while those of Pochury tribe under Meluri Sub-Division of Phek district participated in their traditional attires.
Notably, the Yikhiung Berü Cultural Troupe, Kohima, also presented cultural item at the celebration. An executive member of Yikhiung Tribal Council said that there was no directive for them not to participate in the Statehood celebration for which they came forward.
He however reiterated that the Yimkhiung tribe would uphold the ENPO decision to boycott the 10-day long Hornbill celebrations at Naga Heritage village Kisama starting today.
(Page News Service)