Our problem

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Mayhem of the mindless development is crippling Nagaland by way of reducing green cover, thereby taking a heavy toll on the sponge character of the State and its fragile ecology. Today landslides due to heavy rains across the State have cut off most roads drawing our life out of gear. Two reasons behind the worsening conditions are encroachments and violations. People encroach or illegally occupy any kind of available Government land, forest land, nullahs and other water bodies, public roads, open spaces and social/community spaces, etc. Such kind of attitude has become a usual habit as everyone try to grab whatever s/he can. Here violation normally means illegal/unauthorized constructions or deviations from the sanctioned permission. In the first category, the owner or developer does not approach the concerned authorities for building/development permission and constructs structures without permission. Secondly, even if the intending owner/developer obtains permission from the competent authorities, still s/he violates or deviates (wholly or partially) from the granted permission. More human intervention in the natural environment means more problems. Therefore, we can conclude: man is the main problem for the problems that we are experiencing presently as a result of heavy rains that has made life miserable for all. Take encroachment for instance. These were supposed to have been removed after in accordance with and to ensure compliance of the directives of the Supreme Court. Encroachments on common and other categories of land alike needed to be removed and any delay in eviction process is fraught with springing of more complications and giving place to cumbersome problems. Take the visible encroachments on day to day basis like on roads meant for specified purposes which are sliced on both ways by vendors or merchants occupying the space to exhibit their merchandise and make sales without paying rent, electric charges or any taxes etc excepting greasing palms of some unscrupulous law enforcing agencies. This encroaching has turned into a lucrative business itself as mafia and muscles men let, sub-let and “lease” the space and no one can “flout” their directions. The cue has been taken from innumerable instances of common and other land where organized mafia, some influential big wigs, some police and bureaucrats and even some politicians operate in connivance. Footpaths, already since decades, have become “No man’s zone” and restrictive for any movement of pedestrians. They are even unknowingly not used as people have become habitual and know who are the ones “owning” them and treating them as their “purchased” space. The Supreme Court had, nearly six years back, directed to remove all types of encroachments but even that could not motivate and force the authorities to muster administrative will and cheeks to remove all encroachments. Whatever the reasons, eviction of all sorts of encroachments has not seen the light of the day and implemented, not even in the least, which has led to the present alarming situation throughout the State, in appearance and in its effects. It may be recalled that as back as in the year 2011, Supreme Court had directed all State governments in the country to prepare schemes for evictions of encroachments on common and other categories of land. Not complying with the court orders by the concerned authorities is tantamount to adopting contemptuous attitude towards the apex court. From time to time, the State authorities had also issued notices for eviction of encroachers but it has remained confined to mere formality as no level of implementation has been reached by the enforcing authorities resulting in the status quo ante position. Even encroachments have not been identified and data completed neither in urban nor in rural or semi urban areas. Who had to supervise and ensure compliance of the SC directives? Can successive revenue ministers, bureaucrats be held accountable for such a glaring lapse on their part to set an example of how orders of the SC and State authorities were to be scrupulously implemented? The Government must act now before it is too late.