KOHIMA, Nov 27 (NEPS): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the full potential and growth of the state had been impeded by the “unresolved issue of the Naga political struggle.”
But with almost 21 years of “Peace Process and 3 years since the singing of the Framework Agreement,” they were hopeful a final settlement of the Naga political issue, “which is inclusive, honorable and acceptable to the people.”
He said this at the State Dinner for the “Fifteenth Finance Commission (FCC)” at the State Banquet Hall on Tuesday.
The FCC Team led by its Chairman N.K. Singh has arrived at Kohima on Tuesday. And they will have a series of meetings with Chief Minister and his Cabinet Ministers, representatives of political parties, rural local bodies – VCMs & VDBs, representatives of urban local bodies & tribal Hohos, representatives of Trade, Industries, Commerce, in the next two days.
Welcoming the Chairman, Member and Officials of the FCC to the State, the Chief Minister said with Peace, they would be able to ensure that “our people can live their dreams and fulfill their aspirations.
Informing the FCC about the upcoming 19th Hornbill Festival, which also coincides with their Statehood Day on December 1, Rio said, “One of our dreams is to make Tourism the mainstay of our Economy.”
“We also celebrate our Tribal Festivals – in various districts at different times of the year, now known as Mini Hornbill, and the culmination of all tribal festivals is at Kisama in Kohima as the Hornbill Festival,” he said. “Over the years, the Hornbill Festival has become one of the most important tourism events, not only in India but also worldwide.”
Rio said the festival provided Nagaland the platform to showcase the “unique culture of the Nagas in its full glory,” besides portraying the “love and determination of the Naga people for preserving tradition and culture, which is the hallmark of our identity.”
The Chief Minister also informed about Nagaland’s playing the “Ranji Trophy” for the first time, football players’ excelling for various teams in the Indian Football League. He recalled about many Naga archivers saying “Temsutula Imsong – a daughter of Nagaland is credited with the clean ghats of Varanasi. Another Naga woman – Chiewelou Thele – was adjudged the best trainee commando in her batch of police officers at Delhi Police and was chosen as the poster girl for Delhi Police.”
“Jawaans and officers of Naga Regiment have done the nation proud – be it at Kargil War, Bangladesh War or fighting Naxals in difficult terrains, there are stories of bravery and valor of Naga warriors that are recounted often,” he added. He further stated that there were “many more talented and spirited Naga boys and girls – from music to fashion to crafts – who are making the Nation proud with their accomplishments.”
While heartening to see such achievements, he said “one needs to also introspect and think as to what more can be done to ensure that our youth realize their true potential.”
Stating that Infrastructure development was key for helping Nagaland catch up with mainland States in terms of economic development, the Chief Minister explained the connectivity within the State as also with other States of the North East would help create opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. “Nagaland is also the gateway to South East Asia and with the Act East policy of Government of India – a great future beckons for the benefit of all,” he said.
“The ongoing road projects in the State and pursuing Ciethu airport at capital Kohima, once completed can transform the State,” he said. He further exuded confidence that with direct connectivity with mainland and South East Asia, there would be a huge market for their “produce and products.”
Asserting that the strength of their State “lies in our organic farm produce, flowers and fruits,” the Chief Minister disclosed that the “rare medicinal plants and herbs can help create jobs and boost the economy.”
Mentioning that they had a high literacy rate – higher than the national average, he informed that “a young population which is fluent in English, IT savvy and with a progressive outlook can help transform the region into a hub for the services industry.” “A Call Center is already operational in Kohima and we are pursuing for another Call Center in Dimapur,” he said. “With investments in IT connectivity, this has the potential of bridging the geographical remoteness of the State.”
The Chief Minister, however, stated that all these “dreams and aspirations need the support of Government of India.” “We look forward to the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission that will help address the bottlenecks and development gaps of our State and give us the flexibility to make the right interventions for our people.”
Rio asserted the recommendations of the Commission would help balance “regional aspirations and expectations for optimal and balanced distribution of resources.” “This will ensure leveraging the relative strengths of all States and all regions,” he said.
“Nagaland looks forward to the visit of Finance Commission for ensuring that we also become an equal and proud partner in the Nation’s growth story,” he said.