Nagaland on threshold of common future: CM

Nagaland on threshold of common future: CM
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio inspects the Independence Day parade at Secretariat Plaza Kohima on August 15

Kohima, August 15: Nagaland today joined the nation in celebrating the 72nd Independence Day by showcasing the rich cultural diversity with Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio affirming that the State stands at the threshold of a common future for an early and final settlement of the Naga political issue that is honourable, inclusive and acceptable to the Nagas.
With beefed up security arrangement, the main celebration was held at Secretariat Plaza here with the Chief Minister unfurling the tri-colour and taking salute from 24 marching contingents, which included men and women armed forces, civil police, NCC, Scouts and Guides, school students and three band party.
“Political negotiations have been going on for the last 21 years. We have had many challenges – but there is no problem that is insurmountable before the collective will of the people,” Rio said, adding that “together we need to strive towards that goal and with the collective cooperation and support of all sections of society”.
The CM maintained that the Naga political issue is at the top of the PDA Government’s agenda. “We have committed to play the role of an active facilitator in the ongoing political negotiations between the Government of India and the Naga political groups,” he said.
In order to create conducive atmosphere for an early solution, Rio said the Government has undertaken several measures that included setting up of a Political Affairs Committee, conducting consultative meets with tribal hohos and civil society organisations and calling on the representatives of the Government of India regularly.
“In our meeting with the tribal hohos on May 11 last at Kohima, it was unanimously resolved to urge all Naga political groups including NSCN K to renew the ceasefire with GoI and to join the peace talks in order to realise a solution that is inclusive,” he said.
A significant resolution was a request to the Speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly to reconstitute the erstwhile Joint Legislators Forum for pursuing an early solution to the Naga political issue, he informed.
Rio expressed confidence that the dream of a developed Nagaland would one day, in the near future, become a reality where economic independence and stability, quality education and state-of-the-art health care facilities etc. shall be the parameters and indicators of progress of Nagaland and its people.
Stating that the Government supports the desire of the Naga people for integration of all contiguous Naga inhabited areas which has been passed as resolutions in the State Assembly on four occasions, the CM also appealed to the neighboring States “to appreciate the history and democratic rights of the Nagas under a spirit of mutual respect so that we can live together as good neighbors under an environment of harmonious coexistence and brotherhood”.
The CM also urged the negotiating parties, specially the GoI to expedite the process and respond to the voice of the people by bringing a political solution at the earliest.
“On our part, we reiterate our commitment to pave the way for an alternative arrangement that may arise from the political agreement,” he said while urging all sections of Naga society to come together under a spirit of unity and oneness, so that together we strengthen the peace process and create an environment that is congenial for successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations.
Maintaining that Nagaland is celebrating the occasion at a time when the State has been ravaged by unprecedented heavy rains and landslides causing widespread damage to life, property, roads and bridges, Rio said the State mourns the loss of 10 precious lives.
In this he commended the prompt response of all stakeholders including Government departments, civil administration, police, NSDMA, civil societies and people from all walks of life for leaving no stone unturned to ensure all blocked roads and highways are made operational without any delay and supply of essential commodities are not disrupted.
“We express our sincere gratitude to the Government of India for heeding to the distress call of the people of Nagaland and deputing two Indian Air Force helicopters to transport essential commodities to areas that have been cut off totally,” he said.
Recalling that his Government was elected by the people in March this year on the promise of bringing in ‘Change and Development’, Rio said “We have taken steps to ensure that Government functions with transparency and accountability”.
On the infrastructure requirements of the State, the Chief Minister said the Government realizes that a lot needs to be done. “We need to build roads and maintain them, create employment opportunities for our youth to enable them to live their dreams and reach their potential,” he said.
Affirming that Nagas in general are proud of our history and cultural heritage, Rio however said, “we need lasting peace in our land as a conducive environment for investors that allows them to do business without compromising on our history, customs and culture”.
This, he said, will help create jobs and bolster the economy of the state into the league of developed States.
“Let us join hands and work towards transforming Nagaland by inculcating consistency in work ethics for the overall development and progress of Nagaland in every aspect,” the CM appealed.
Cabinet Ministers and Advisors unfurled the tri-colour and took salute from the contingents at the district and sub-divisional headquarters where the celebrations were also reported to be peaceful.
At the Secretariat Plaza, Nagaland Legislative Assembly Speaker, Vikho-o Yhoshü, legislators, senior bureaucrats led by Chief Secretary Temjen Toy and DGP T J Longkumer were among the other dignitaries attending the celebrations along with general public. A special attraction of the celebration was women band party of 15th Nagaland Armed Police Mahila Battalion Pipe Band and dance display by Nagaland Adolescent Girls Club, besides cultural performance by different tribes – Angami, Chang, Rengma and Sumi.
Chief Minister Rio also handed over President’s Police Medal for distinguished service to IGP (NAP) Bendang Lemtur and President’s Police Medal meritorious services to IGP (Crime) S R Saravanan. He also gave away Governor’s Gold Medal and citation to 13 personnel from different services and Sendenyu Community Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation Committee, Sendenyu Village, Tseminyu sub-division under Kohima district.
During the day charitable civil societies and clubs, including Kohima Press Club, Angami Students’ Union, Indian Red Cross Society, Contractors & Suppliers Union and civil societies also reached out to orphanages, old age homes, hospitals and district jail sharing the joy of the day through philanthropic activities. (Page News Service)