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Nagaland’s response to COVID-19 shows community strength: Rio

Nagaland News

Says Pandemic under control and Nagaland will soon eradicate the virus
Kohima, February 15: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today said that while the State was caught unprepared by COVID-19 but the response in the fight against the pandemic shows the community strength of the Naga people in general.
Responding to the remarks made by Opposition MLAs on the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address in the Assembly, Rio said “the world over had been taken by surprise and we also were not prepared to deal with COVID-19 but we were confident to tackle it”.

“Our 57 years of statehood and we were caught unprepared but the response to COVID-19 is a shining example of all including healthcare providers, frontline workers, church bodies, CSOs and members of ruling & opposition. This shows the strength of the community and coordinated efforts, so I feel we have achieved a lot,” he said.
Reiterating the post creation and appointment of health care workers at various levels, he said doctors and nurses are posted at the PHCs, CHCs and sub-centres and they have immensely helped with dealing with the situation.
He said the state faced difficulty in dealing with the returnees, who had brought the COVID-19 while there were some mishaps, It is more important to appreciate the hard work carried out in dealing with the pandemic.
The government developed and upgraded the health care services in our state, including having BSL labs, TrueNat machines, Oxygen machines and life saving supports and drugs, so thank all concerned, he said.
Though there is presence of COVID-19 it is under control and together by maintaining social distance and with vaccination in progress we can soon eradicate the virus, he said.
On Imchen’s remark that the Governor was not happy to deliver the speech, Rio termed it as false saying that he received the Governor that day and he was in ‘good mood’. “The Governor’s speech was brief and to the point”, he said.
Maintaining that members of both the Opposition and Treasury bench have been more positive in their approach and gave a lot of healthy suggestions during the debate, Rio asserted that all the constructive suggestions and criticisms have been noted not only in the governance or in developmental sectors but even the Naga political issue.
On agri & allied sector, he said COVID-19 pandemic had also thrown a challenge in meeting self sufficiency while the government constituted a committee on economic affair under his chairmanship while it deliberated on the options and subsequently came up with a working group on economic affairs with road map on economic revamp with short and long term measures.
A lot of initiatives have been taken in the agri & allied sector and also skill development initiatives are being undertaken while also coming with Naga Integrated Farming in Kohima, which would be taken up in other districts subsequently.
Dwelling on the importance of Dzukou fire on the long term and short term measures as demanded by Opposition Leader T R Zeliang, the Chief Minister said he had a telephonic discussion with Manipur CM Biren Singh and Minister Dikho and discussed at length to deal with the situation.
Rio said that he had written a letter to Manipur CM on January 8, 2021 stating about his intention and explained that land belongs to the people and without their involvement we cannot handle the issue alone.
He said that he had informed Singh that Tenyimi People’s Organisation (TPO) is the tribunal to resolve the issue, who have assured to deal with the situation before government takes up the matter because once government involves it may take longer because on both sides it is the tenyimi people living in the areas.
Revealing the long term plan of the government to prevent recurrence of forest fire in Dzukou valley are Construction of permanent fire control line and maintenance annually; Installation of full prove surveillance for tourist entry and exit in coordination with the village council and district administration; Capacity building and training of community first responders to forest fire and technology driven fire alert system.
If all the parties agree our intention is to declare our portion to declare as Government Reserve Forest and approach the Central government or foreign agencies to support the conservation effort so that the neighbouring villages will benefit from alternative livelihood and will not have to destroy the reserve forest but protect it, said Rio.
POWER SECTOR: On power sector, he said Nagaland produces about 20-25% of the power requirement because big projects cannot be taken up due to land issues.
He said Dikhu HEP of 106 MW is still to be materialized as two villages – Nyen and Kanching in Longleng district are not willing to part with their land although other villages in Mokokchung and Mon districts have already agreed. Suggested for relocation but yet to be further discussed, he said.
Dzungki – 24 MW HEP and Lower Tizu HEP – 40 MG have been approved for funding through Asian Development Bank but still pending.
Unlike many sectors, power has to be taken to every far-flung village but due to the difficult terrain maintenance is a difficult challenge, he said, while asserting that there will be stable transmission lines in all districts in a short time.
The revenue loss of more than 200 crore annually in the power sector is due to consumers not willing to pay so Cabinet decided to outsource meter reading, billing and collection of revenues so as to improve the revenue performance, he said.
On Cyber crime issues pointed by MLA K KHalo, Rio said in the recent NPS cadre review the Cabinet has created a new post of SP (Cyber Cell) and so it will be necessary for police personnel to be trained and will be put in all the districts.
On the road sector, Rio said the PDA government has taken a new policy to make sure that the roads are good with quality control as “road is the face of the State”.
On the day we took oath we assured to improve the roads and gave Rs 50 crore for the purpose starting from the district roads, he said adding that the department and Cabinet had “little difference” on giving the amount to the department to carry out the maintenance works.
The government has now decided to standardize policy and also whoever does the road construction works have to maintain the road for three years, he said.
We are taking stringent measures to improve the PMGSY roads and after taking the 15th Finance Award and roads will improve not only in towns but the villages also, he said.
On Opposition Leader T R Zeliang pointing to the poor workmanship from New Field Gate to Purana Bazaar about 4.4 kms road, Rio said the technical committee report has been submitted to the Committee on Government Assurance and if found not according to specification, action would be initiated against the contractor.
Rio said the fourlane road from Dimapur to Chumukedima may not be the best and while there may be some slackness but that is the first four lane road in Nagaland.
Minister for Health and Family Welfare, S Pangnyu Phom of the BJP speaking in support of the motion appreciated the Governor for covering all the activities and achievements of the government. He touched on the COVID-19 pandemic, and appreciated all the MLAs for the cooperation during the period to combat the pandemic, also the entire medical department and other line department frontline workers as well the civil societies and tribal organisations.
Because of the well prepared policy of the PDA government, the COVID-19 mortality rate in the state is comparatively very low than other states in Nagaland, he said.
On Naga Political issue and consultative meeting, Phom said Assembly has adopted so many resolutions while October 15 consultative meeting with all the Naga civil organisations which could not be attended by a few political parties adopted a seven point resolution which has been submitted to the Central government and the Naga groups to take serious initiations to resolve the issue.
Minister for Rural Development, Metsubo Jamir said the Governor’s speech has highlighted important achievements of the government and so thank the Governor.
Jamir appreciated the GoI, Ravi and Naga groups and CM for their serious efforts towards finding a solution to the Naga problem.

“Naga political issue is one of the focal points of the PDA government,” he said.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which had been a challenge for the year 2020, nothing has stopped the government from taking forward development in the State, Jamir claimed while asserting that the present government will continue to deliver to the people with whose mandate the government has been elected.
Minister for Soil and Water Conservation Kashiho Sangtam, Advisor for Urban Development Dr Neikiesalie Nicky Kire and Advisor for Tourism Khehovi also spoke in support of the motion of thanks.
They termed that the speech of the Governor was excellent and highly appreciable as it truly represents the vision of the PDA government.
Speaker NLA, Sharingain Longkumer subsequently put the motion of thanks to vote and was adopted by voice vote. (Page News Service)