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Nagaland celebrates I-Day with call for greater sense of urgency to bring consensus on unresolved Naga issue

I Day at kohima

KOHIMA, AUGUST 15: Nagaland today celebrated 77th Independence Day with a call for all Naga political groups and other stakeholders and the Centre, to exhibit greater sense of urgency for bringing consensus on the unresolved Naga issue.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio made the call in his Independence Day message during the main celebration held at the Secretariat Plaza in the State capital here.
“We remain deeply committed to the early solution of the Naga Political issue, which has always been at the top of my Government’s agenda”, said Rio while reassuring of his Government making every possible effort to this cause.
The Political Affairs Committee constituted with the entire Cabinet and elected members of those tribes who are not in the Cabinet will continue to hold serious consultations with all the stakeholders for an early solution, he said.
Rio said the hopes of Naga people have further soared with the signing of the joint accordant in September 2022 between the NSCN-IM and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) through the efforts of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), for the resolution of the Naga historical and political rights with the Government of India (GoI).
In January of this year both the entities reiterated their unconditional commitment to collaborate for the resolution of the Naga Political Issue with the Government of India, he said.
In this, Rio once again called upon “all the Naga political groups and all other stakeholders, and the GoI, to exhibit an even greater sense of urgency for bringing consensus on many unresolved issue and for the sake of our people, bring about an inclusive, honourable and acceptable solution without any further delay”.
The CM said that the Government has been making every effort to reach out to every section and region but despite the best efforts, the developmental deficit that had existed right from the beginning, still persists in some areas, particularly in the eastern districts of Nagaland.
He said the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) resultantly has been raising the grievances of the people from the areas of the eastern districts and have made certain demands which are being looked into by the GoI to suitably address them.
“We have been supporting the desire of the eastern districts to bridge the development deficit to bring them at par with the rest of the State, particularly in matters of infrastructure development, health and education facilities, livelihood opportunities and due representation in Government service”, he said.
On the much awaited elections to Urban local Bodies (ULB), he said pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court, strong opposition was made by the tribal bodies and several civil society organizations on the ground of possible infringement of Article 371(A) of the Constitution.
The Nagaland Legislative Assembly, heeding to the wishes of the people unanimously decided not to go ahead with the ULB elections and repealed the Act while resolving to bring a new legislation expeditiously.
“We are now in the process of taking steps for making a new Act in consultation with all stakeholders”, he said while seeking the cooperation and guidance of every stakeholder in this regard.
On Uniform Civil Code (UCC), he said its implementation in the country raised deep anxiety among various sections of the society and keeping in view the sentiments of the people, the State Cabinet has urged the Law Commission to exempt Nagaland from the purview of UCC in view of its serious implications on the privileges guaranteed under Article 371(A).
He also informed that the Union Home Minister has assured that Council of Ministers of Nagaland that UCC would not be applicable to the Scheduled Tribes of Nagaland and the North East.
Further, Rio said the effort to accelerate the pace of development got a boost with the very successful G20 Business Meet, which we hosted in the month of April 2023 at Kohima.
“We received keen business interests from both national and international business delegates during the Meet, with proposals and interests shown for investment of over Rs 4,500 crores.
Some major investment proposals received were in the areas of New & Renewable Energy, Health Care, agri-allied, etc”, he said.
The State Government, Rio said, is making concerted efforts to put in place appropriate policies to convert all the expressed business interests into projects on the ground.
Highlighting the achievements of various Government Departments in carrying out developmental and welfare works, Rio said the State Government knows that there are a lot more to do and many more commitments to fulfil.
In this, he urged everyone to resolve to redouble their efforts, rise above all kinds of differences and isms and unitedly work for attainment of lasting peace, prosperity, and the highest level of economic development in every nook and corner of the State and for every section of the society.
Meanwhile, Rio also touched on the very disturbing situation that prevails in neighbouring State of Manipur saying that the ethnic conflict there affected Nagaland as the State had to immediately relocate Naga students and citizens in the interest of their safety and well being in the first week of May and safely brought back more than 1300 people.
“We continue to, however, remain deeply concerned of the human atrocities committed and of large-scale vandalisation and arson of places of worship, particularly churches, in Manipur”, he said.
The CM hoped for good sense, peace and harmony to return and also fervently appealed to all the communities and groups in Manipur to give peace a chance and take urgent steps to resolve their differences amicably.
On road & bridges, Rio said the Government is taking steps to improve connectivity, and in the road sector, the Nagaland PWD (R&B) Department could complete road length of more than 4,100 kilometers and over 53 bridges over the years under PMGSY (rural roads).
During the current year, under various schemes and projects of the Government of India, works are ongoing on roads of more than 1200 kilometers for an amount of over 2,300 crore across the State, he said.
On the National Highways entrusted to the State PWD (NH), works are going on or poised to start soon, for widening, improvement in over 330 kilometers, he said.
He said the first medical college in the State, the Nagaland Institute of Medical Sciences & Research (NIMSR), is all set to start its first academic session 2023-24 with 100 MBBS seat capacity while the work on Mon Medical College is also in full swing.
He said that under the Urban Development Department for developing a new, modern planned city in the State, a detailed proposal for incubation of a new city has been submitted to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
The site identified for this new city is in Chathe Valley in Chumoukedima district, spread over an area of around 39 sq. km, he said adding that the site has been selected keeping in view its very favourable geo-location, climatic conditions and very good connectivity, by National Highway and Railways.
The necessary NOCs from all concerned for the land have been taken and other formalities regarding the same have been completed, he said.
The proposal of the State Government is presently under evaluation in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for selection, and the Government is hopeful of its early consideration, he said.
Rio said that under the Underdeveloped Area Programme (UDAP), the Department of Underdeveloped Areas has implemented Iconic Projects in different locations in the 6 eastern districts starting from the financial year 2022-23.
Altogether 20 Iconic Projects have been implemented with an aim to achieve tangible development with proper specifications and guidelines, he said.
He said the State Government has proposed to the Central Government for sanctioning and approving some identified major projects in the State, having tremendous potential to boost the overall economic scenario, significantly improve connectivity and put the State on the fast lane of development and progress.
“We are intensively pursuing with the Central Government for construction of the Foothills Road (Trans-Nagaland Highway) at the earliest possible and also making serious efforts to have the first inland waterway corridor, National Waterway-101 (Tizu-Zungki river), in the State”, he said.
Marred with the menace of drugs, on the occasion, Rio also administered the drug free pledge saying that drug abuse and its peddling is a serious menace to the society and make the State drug-free.
“We have resolved to give a further impetus to our War on Drugs. We are taking measures for ensuring strict enforcement of the preventive measures jointly by the major stakeholders like the Churches, Village Councils and the Departments concerned, to eradicate this menace from the society”, he said.
The Chief Minister also launched eOffice and eVigilance applications to further improve the service delivery and decision making processes of the Government.
The occasion was also marked by March Past by 21 parade contingents from the Armed Forces, Home Guards, NCC and students as well as cultural performances by various tribes and entertainment by TaFMA and State Social Welfare Board & Adolescent Girl Child, besides philanthropic activities by charitable organisations.
(Page News Service)