Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has called for an early solution to the vexed Naga issue, thereby fulfilling a long-cherished dream of Nagas.
Addressing the 60th Statehood Day celebration at Nagaland Civil Secretariat Plaza here on Thursday, he observed that the people were more hopeful now than before for a solution. He lamented that although Naga political issue predated Statehood, the final settlement was yet to be achieved.
In this regard, he appealed to Government of India, Naga political groups and all concerned to walk the extra mile and reach out to everyone in the spirit of unity. Rio claimed that Nagaland had progressed in the path of development and had achieved an improved standard of living for its people. He also fondly recalled all those who had worked hard and contributed to making Nagaland a better place and which the people were proud of. He said it was the people’s bounden duty to remember all those who had sacrificed and worked hard to lay the foundation of peace and progress in the State.
He declared that development of human resource was a focus area for his government and accordingly the numbers of schools and colleges had risen from 593 and two to 2,718 and 69 respectively now, besides three engineering colleges and nine government polytechnics.
In the health sector, the chief minister pointed out that initially there were less than 100 doctors and 60 health facilities, which had now increased to 1,235 doctors registered with Nagaland Medical Council and 775 facilities in the government sector and 99 private healthcare centres.
In case of roads, he claimed that at the time of Statehood, the total road length was only 2,000 km, which had now increased to 14,000 km, of which 1,630.88 km were national highways, adding that 2,500 km roads were added just in the last five years.
He also recalled that at the time of creation of Nagaland, only two district headquarters had power connection, while now the State was hoping to electrify every place in the next two-and-a-half decades.
He said overall production of food grains had jumped by about 12 times to more than 7.5 lakh metric tonne now, while 70% of agricultural practices were traditional and organic. He said three agro products – Naga tree tomato, Naga cucumber and Naga mircha – were GI tagged.
On the law and order front, Rio admitted that the State had faced difficult times owing to the long-drawn insurgency and unsettled political issue, but claimed that an era of peace had dawned now, pointing out that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) coverage was reduced when Central government lifted the Act from 15 police station areas in April this year.
He termed the recent winning of 72 medals by Naga sportspersons at the 2nd North East Olympic Games at Shillong, which was double of what was won in the earlier edition, as a huge achievement. With the right mentoring, facilities and requisite infrastructure provided now, he hoped that many Naga sportspersons would represent the country and win medals at global sporting events soon.
Rio further asserted that the State was moving towards a merit and transparent-based system, pointing out that Nagaland Staff Selection Board (NSSB) had been made functional that subsequently conducted the first ever competitive exam across the State for recruitment into 630 Group C posts under various departments where more than 50,000 candidates appeared.
He said the government had also prioritised ease of doing business and simplification of regulatory framework and compliance burden for investors.
In this regard, he referred to the first CSR, Investment and Banking Conclave held in August this year that was attended by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, leading to major collaborations and partnerships with the private sector.
He pointed out that President Droupadi Murmu had congratulated all successive governments and the people of Nagaland for the progress made in various developmental parameters during her visit to the State recently.
Project SAHYOG launched: Meanwhile, the chief minister launched Project SAHYOG of Nagaland Police, a mobile app of the project and released a booklet on the same, besides distributing smart cards to Indian Reserve Battalion units.
Hands over loan sanction letters: The chief minister along with Chief General Manager of State Bank of India, North East Circle, Vincent Menachery handed over the loan sanction letters to 11 entrepreneurs through the resident of the Business Association of Nagas (BAN), L. Mongkum Jamir during the Statehood Day celebrations.
A total of Rs. 4.57 crore was sanctioned for the beneficiaries from Tuensang, Longleng, Wokha and Dimapur districts, encompassing various sectors. The initiative has been undertaken by the Business Association of Nagas (BAN) and State Bank of India to fund 1,000 entrepreneurs across the State.
On the occasion, a ceremonial parade was led by 4th NAP officers– parade commander deputy commandant Z. James Sema and 2 i/c asst. commandant Rukulu Tunyi.
The contingents include District Executive Force, 1st and 4th NAP battalions; 9th, 10th and 15th (Mahila) IR battalions, NAP Rangers, Nagaland Village Guards and Nagaland Police Auxiliary Brass Band and 15th IRB Mahila pipe band.
Highlights of the programme include dance by Women Resources Development department; The Children Choir (School Education department) and cultural presentations by Kevira Cultural Troupe, Kohima village, Dzülhami Cultural Troupe, Surumi Cultural Society and Yimkhiung Berü Cultural Troupe.