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DUDA created for development: Rio

Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio speaking at the Second Development Seminar for Tuensang, Mon, Longleng & Kiphire Districts organised by Govt of Nagaland in Collaboration with the Ministries of Home and DoNER, at ATI Auditorium, Kohima, Wednesday. (DIPR)
Correspondent KOHIMA, AUG 5 (NPN):
Published on 6 Aug. 2009 12:25 AM IST
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State chief minister Neiphiu Rio said that the Department for Development of Under Developed Areas (DUDA) was created in 2003 particularly for the four districts of Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng, with the objective of bringing them developmentally at par with the rest of the districts in the state. He said DUDA’s objective was to cater to the special needs of these areas and improve the living conditions through development. Rio was speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural session of the second development seminar for the four districts at the ATI Auditorium Kohima, Wednesday. He asserted that due importance should be given to these areas with special emphasis on roads, health and education sectors besides livelihood. Lamenting that the literacy rate of Mon (42.25%) with female literacy rate of 37.12% and Tuensang (51.30%) including Kiphire and Longleng with female literacy rates of 46.12% were far below the state’s average literacy rate of 67.11%, Rio strongly stressed the need for upliftment of the education sector. The chief minister observed that the Eastern Nagas were represented by 20 legislators in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Stating that Nagaland was born out of the 16-Point Agreement, Rio pointed out that the various clauses of the agreement shouldered the union government the responsibility to look after the finance of the state. With representatives from various ministries of the government of India attending the development seminar, Rio pointed out that the state government had in recent times created many new administrative centres, but regretted that it did not have the means to build the required infrastructures. In this regard, the chief minister sought special support from various ministries to enable the state government to take on developmental activities from the grass-root level. He also emphasized on the need for good road connectivity from Eastern Nagaland to Dimapur and Kohima as well as foothill road connectivity from Eastern Nagaland up to Dimapur, Tizit via Tuli. Rio said that the railway line should be taken up on priority basis for the survival of eastern Naga people and Tuli Paper Mill. On the backward tag, Rio reminded that no people or society remained backward forever except for animals and alerted the ‘backward people’ of the eastern Nagaland that a moment might come when a time frame would be given to develop their area to be at par with the rest of the state. “We don’t want to be called backward, backwardness, mediocre, but we’re compelled to be,” Rio said. Simultaneously, Rio told the gathering to imagine the extent of backwardness of eastern Nagaland, stating that Nagaland was still a backward state in the eyes of the country, even when Naga people had identified for themselves who among them was backward. Stating this, Rio added that one could imagine the backwardness of those areas beyond Nagaland referring to the Nagas in Myanmar. Pointing out that Nagaland shared an international border of 231 kms with Myanmar, Rio informed that the government had identified four trade centres at Longwa, Pangsha, Mimi and Avankhu in order to facilitate border trade with Myanmar. He however said that no tangible progress had been undertaken at the trade centres, except Avankhu where some semblance of activities for setting up of trade centre began since 2004-05. “For the benefit of both Eastern Nagas and Myanmar we need to develop these trade centres so that they can trade and create a sense of oneness,” Rio said. Rio was optimistic that with generous funding from the government of India, the backward areas would soon be at par with the rest of the state and become prosperous. The chief minister sought the support of all citizens particularly the civil societies, NGOs and government officials to bring permanent peace in Nagaland. Earlier, Nagaland minister for school education, Nyeiwang Konyak urged upon the participants to make positive changes for Eastern Nagaland and also expressed hope that the government of India would continue with the various assistances for the development of the backward region of eastern Nagaland. He requested the DoNER and home ministry to take up the case of Eastern Nagaland to various ministries for grant of financial assistance in order to meet the pressing requirements for development of the region. Joint secretary DoNER, Jayashree Mukherjee stressed the need to develop the skills, education and agricultural aspects of the backward region and called for mass participation to help develop the backward areas. She also reminded that the BSNL and Postal Department has a number of schemes and suggested the state government to extend all possible assistance to these central agencies so that services could be delivered to the people. ENPO president, Y. Mangko Phom suggested setting up of an independent central monitoring cell for monitoring all developmental activities. Advisor DUDA, E.E. Pangteang delivered the welcome address while chief secretary, Lalthara chaired the programme. The programme was organised by government of Nagaland in collaboration with the ministries of home and DoNER, government of India and attended by ministers, parliamentary secretaries, MLAs, government officials from India, state officials, village elders and members of civil societies and NGOs. (with inputs from DIPR)

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