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Rio ready to pave way for solution

Chief minister, Neiphiu Rio arrives for the two-day Road Show cum Mongmong festival at Kiphire in a chopper, Wednesday. (NP)
Correspondent KIPHIRE, SEPT 2 (NPN):
Published on 3 Sep. 2009 1:43 AM IST
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Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today reiterated that he was prepared to demit office if required for a final settlement to the Naga political issue since the DAN government had accorded top priority for a permanent solution. Stating this while inaugurating the two-day Kiphire Road Show coinciding with the Mongmong festival of the Sangtams at Kiphire, Wednesday, as the chief guest, Rio said the DAN government was only a facilitator to the peace process involving the Centre and the Naga underground groups. He also revealed that 1040 Nagas had been killed in Nagaland alone after the signing of ceasefire between the government of India and the NSCN (I-M) in 1997, while not a single Indian Army personnel was killed in the hands of the Naga underground factions during the same period. The figures were gathered from the reports of various intelligence agencies, which did not include such killings that took place outside Nagaland. “If this much are killed in ceasefire period what will happen if there is no ceasefire,” Rio wondered and pointed out that the casualty figure was “very big” for the Nagas comparing to their population which he also described it as “very few.” He said that unless a permanent solution to the Naga problem was arrived at, Nagas would continue to suffer. In this connection, Rio renewed his call to all the Naga leaders, irrespective of political parties, tribe or village to come out and join hands to bring peace. “Unitedly, we have to solve the problem .… we need Naga leaders and not only tribe or village leaders,” he said. Rio once again pleaded for a stop to the factional killings. The chief minister said that the government was only a facilitator and called upon the people to prevail for peace and unity for all round development in the state. He said many people were willing to come and invest in Nagaland but the absence of peace was preventing them for doing so. Greeting the Sangtams on the occasion of Mongmong festival, Rio said the different Nagas tribes needed to celebrate and maintain their own festivals even though “we are all Christians now.” “We need to pray for good harvest,” he said. Rio reminded the gathering of the meaning of Mongmong festival, “togetherness forever” and stressed the need for peaceful coexistence. He said the festival, which also signifies friendship and merrymaking has a great meaning to lead the younger generation. Rio pointed out that Kiphire, although situated in a far flung place, was one of the richest districts in terms of mineral deposits, flora and fauna. He said there was a potential to connect other East Asian countries through waterways from the region and urged upon the people to explore what the district has. The chief minister said that the state government was not only concentrating in Kohima and Dimapur but had conceptualised the Road Shows to involve all the various tribes and promote their festivals. He encouraged the people to not only give attention to the unique and rich cultural traditions but also to give more attention to music as the state government had instituted the Music Task Force and declared music as an industry. He urged the people of the state to select talented musicians who would showcase their talents at the annual Hornbill festival. Rio said that the government of India was enquiring how Nagaland was doing after declaring Music as an industry in the state. “We have a unique trait of singing not only when happy but also at the time while we are working which other community doesn’t …. when Nagas sing while working, why not we sing when we are happy,” he said. The chief minister said this was the reason why the state government had declared music as an industry. He also assured to send any youth good in music or singing to music institutions so that they could become professionals. Rio said the state government was working for the people of the state benefiting in every field. However, he added that the government was worried due to scanty rainfall and the late monsoon which was likely to affect the harvest this year. He reminded that a committee had been set up at the state level, under the convenorship of APC, to carry out assessment while similar committee were set up at the district level with deputy commissioners as the Convenor. Earlier, MLA & Chairman, NSMDC, Kipili Sangtam, while delivering Mongmong festival greetings, lauded the DAN government under the dynamic leadership of Neiphiu Rio for undertaking various activities in Kiphire district. He said that the present government had come up with various innovative ideas to develop all the 11 districts in the state. Parliamentary secretary CAWD, T. Torechu urged the people to go forward with peace and love to bring developmental activities. In his introductory remarks, principal secretary & commissioner Nagaland, H K Khulu said the road show was not only for the state but for the rest of the world, to show what developmental activities were being carried out with transparency and accountability. He said 22 different departments and about 10 Self Help Group (SHGs) with a total of 55 stalls were participating in the road show at Kiphire. Head GB of Kiphire town, Yangkimong who spoke on the significance of Mongmong festival said that with the advent of Christianity, the ancestral beliefs were no longer practiced and as time passes all traditions were being forgotten and slowly fading away. He said it was only during such festivals that traditional beliefs and customs were rekindled in present generation through folklores. President USLB, R. Tsapikiu in his welcome address urged to the chief minister to understand their problems and requirements particularly in the road sector. The highlights of the programme were folk songs presented by Kisetong village, Tsinger village and cultural dances with a vibrant traditional custom performed by Hurunger village, Sanphur village, Singrep women, Phelunger women Folk, Haho women group and Longkhim town. Besides the huge gathering of public, dignitaries present were home minister, Imkong L Imchen, parliamentary secretaries, Yithachu, Torechu, Y. Patton, C.W. Kithan, S. Heno, Chotisuh Sazo, MLAs C.L. John, Azetho Zhimomi, Vikho Yhoshu, Dr. Nicky Kire, Kejong Chang, Kipili Sangtam and several senior government officials. The nodal departments for the Road Show were CAWD and NSMDC. (with inputs from DIPR)

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