Editorial

Growing smaller

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/13/2019 12:36:40 PM IST

 Demand for a separate Frontier Nagaland state comprising of four districts- Tuensang, Mon, Longleng and Kiphire- appears to have reached the high levels of the government in Delhi after the Centre took note of the threat of Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation(ENPO) to abstain from the August 15 independence day celebrations in the four districts. The outcome of the scheduled meeting between ENPO and the government of India on Tuesday will be eagerly awaited. What has  buoyed hopesis the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir to union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on August 5,2019when re-organisation of states was decided along with the abrogation of Article 370 and  Article 35A for J&K.  ENPO has been spearheading the demand for a separate Frontier Nagaland comprising of the four above named districts to be carved out of Nagaland. The proposed state  will encompass 48%  or 7957 sq kms of Nagaland’s present geographical area of 16,579 sq kms. The proposed  state will also include 42% or 8,31,852 of the entire population of the state. What will be left is 52% or 8621 sq KMs of the geographical area and 58 % or 10,29,913of the population.The main grouse that led to  the demand for statehood and ceding away from Nagaland has been on the feeling of neglect of the areas under the four  districts, which are located along the Indo-Myanmar international border. Mon shares a border with Longding district of neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh. Mon and Longleng also share boundary with Sivasagar district of Assam. In order to assuage ENPO the state cabinet had on July 23,2011 recommended  to the government of India for creation of an autonomous council under the sixth schedule of the constitution of India for areas under Mon, Tuensang, Longleng and Kiphire districts.The cabinet decision was received with some feeling of disappointment and a sense of despair among the other communities of the state;though this is not to say that these feelings were against the aspirations. However, ENPO has stuck to its statehood demand and want nothing short of it.An autonomous council for the four districts may seem like reviving the political arrangement when Tuensang district placed under a separate Tuensang Affairs portfolio. It may be recalled, that since 1963, after statehood till 1975 , undivided Tuensang enjoyed a special status, when it had its own minister, who was virtually like another mini-chief minister and answerable only to the Governor of Nagaland. The entire Tuensang district came under one portfolio called Tuensang Affairs which was also looked after by an elected representative from the district. Funds for Tuensang district was directly budgeted by the Governor who decided on distribution of funds to the minister and with the knowledge of the chief minister. Earlier, all four districts were under Tuensang and later three districts were carved out- Mon, Longleng and Kiphire. This was seen as a means to satisfy the aspirations of the tribes inhabiting the ‘backward districts’. If these aspirations were not met then perhaps, and as commented in this column, all the 20 elected representatives of the four districts need to be answerable to their people. It would have been worthwhile if the state government also brings out a white paper on the economic backwardness of the four districts so as to enlighten the rest of Nagaland. 

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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