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We cannot disown our children: Nagaland CM on bringing back stranded people

Rio at NGOs meet

Dimapur, May 13: Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today sought suggestions from Civil Societies on how to handle the present situation when stranded people in different parts of the country arrive Nagaland in the coming days.
Addressing an emergency meeting of all Civil Societies of Dimapur at Police Complex Chumukedima, Rio said the Civil Societies are asking the stranded people to stay back where they are, if possible, and report to the government if they require help, and added that “for those who want to come, we cannot stop.”
“We cannot disown our children,” he said.
The Chief Minister said lockdown in the state has been in force since March 25 and till now the pandemic has not reached Nagaland. He thanked everyone for their support and cooperation in containing the spread of the dreaded virus.
However, the Chief Minister said the Central Government has now allowed movement of stranded people through bus, rail etc. and in days to come the airlines would also be opened. “Even though we are in Green Zone, there is apprehension that the virus may come from outside,” he added.
Rio informed the Civil Societies that he is satisfied with the arrangements of the quarantine centres and facilities made in Dimapur and advised them to visit the centres and check out the facilities.
He stated as far as lockdown in Nagaland is concerned, it was implemented very strictly at the village level where people showed unity and discipline. This has prompted even the DoNER Minister to appreciate the efforts of the Northeastern states. Rio said that the Union Minister lauded the NE people asking other states to be disciplined like the Northeast. This will encourage tourists to come to the Northeast in future, he said adding, this happened because of the cooperation and support of the civil societies.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech yesterday, Rio reminded the people to continue efforts to contain the spread of corona virus as well as to continue economic activities in the state.
“If economic activities are not carried on with the lockdown, we cannot take development forward and therefore Prime Minister has decided that MPs fund will not be given for 2 years and 30 percent of their salary will be deducted,” he said.
Talking about Covid cess, Rio said that such steps are initiated in almost all the states for COVID preparedness, improvement of hospitals but hinted that it will be reviewed according to the change in the situation.
“You tax the rich to help and support the poor is the Government’s policy,” Rio said adding for which luxury items are taxed more.
Lamenting that Nagaland’s economy is a salaried economy where all are dependable on the government, he  said Nagas should be self sufficient. Rio informed that the Government has set up a Committee in which he is the Chairman, which would work to boost Agri and allied sector, tourism and sports, industries, entrepreneurship etc.
The Chief Minister informed the gathering that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contemplating to distribute Rs 20 lakhs crore with the intention to make India self sufficient, for which, the states have been asked to prepare proposals with regards to Agri and allied sectors and Infrastructure. “We will be engaging experts to make strategies,” he informed.
Rio also stressed on becoming self sufficient in livestock.
“Make Nagaland a new Nagaland by taking the COVID crisis as a wakeup call,” Rio encouraged.
Taking the opportunity, Rio spoke about the financial situation of the state and explained about the current deficits the state is facing.
He also talking about the vexed Naga political issue stating that solution to the Naga problem is not in sight despite singing of the Framework Agreement on 3rd August 2015 and subsequent declaration of conclusion of official negotiations on 31st October 2019.
He said, “Even after more than 6 months we do not know whether solution will come or not.”
Quoting the Naga groups in the negotiation, Rio said there is no meeting point. “If solution does not come, there will be lots of problems…there would not be increase in seats for Parliament and State Assemblies. And now Delimitation Exercise is to begin, which means that the present 60 Assembly seats would be adjusted as per population ratio,” he said.
“We will need to have consultation…we will come to another difficult position. It was with political agreement, political state was created…it is not financially viable as it is a tribal state,” he said adding, “If seats are reduced from Mokokchung, Zunheboto and other districts and allotted to other districts, who will agree? There will be problems,” he cautioned.
In the meeting, Rio expressed gratitude to the civil societies, church leaders, District administration Police, public and all concerned for their concerted efforts in preventing coronavirus and for sincerely implementing the SOPs given by the government. He also urged them to work together to make a “New Nagaland”.
Chief Secretary, Temjen Toy, informed that already 18000 stranded Nagas have registered in the portal, Iamstranded expressing their desire to come home.
Toy said that initially Nagaland Government was all set in place to deport stranded people phase wise starting with Inter-District, North East and followed by interstate deportation through special trains. However, with the Delhi government opening of normal passenger trains new SOP would be issued, he maintained.
He also informed that 70% of the stranded returnees from different states would be quarantined at Dimapur while 30% would be sent at Kohima as per advice from the medical department.
The Chief Secretary said all suggestions raised in the meeting were noted and told the members who could not be given time due to paucity of time to apprise DC Dimapur and APC also the incharge of Dimapur, Kikheto Sema.
He also clarified that Rs.10,000 offered by Government to stranded persons was not to appease them not to come home but to extend help if they do not desire to come home even after doing the registration and are facing financial problems.
He also informed that for the convenience of the returnees and also the arrangements to be properly set, window period will be extended if needed.
He advised the district administration for bringing out guidelines on the use of PPE, wearing of masks and to educate the people who are helping the Government in various work in the fight against the pandemic.
Expressing satisfaction with the various arrangements, he lauded Dimapur district for working tirelessly and systematically. “This shows that all are together, let us work hand in hand in fighting the virus,” he added.
Besides others, Deputy Chief Minister Y.Patton, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Pangnyu Phom, PHED Minister Jacob Zhimomi, Advisors Zhaleo Rio, Tovihoto Ayemi, and government officials also attended the meeting.
(Page News Service)