State

Rio for integration of contiguous Naga areas

Rio for integration of contiguous Naga areas
State chief minister Neiphiu Rio inspecting the guard of honour on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day celebration at Civil Secretariat Plaza Wednesday. (DIPR)
Correspondent KOHIMA, AUG 15 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/15/2018 12:09:07 PM IST
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday reiterated that the Naga Political issue was the PDA government’s top agenda and extended support to the demand of Naga people for integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas, for which Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) had passed resolutions on four occasions. 
He claimed that his government had been supporting the “legitimate and democratic right” of the people consistently.
Speaking after unfurling the tricolour at Civil Secretariat Plaza here on Wednesday on the occasion of the India’s 72nd Independence Day, Rio also appealed to the neighbouring States to appreciate the history and democratic rights of the Nagas in the spirit of mutual respect to live together as good neighbours under an environment of harmonious coexistence and brotherhood.
He remarked that Nagaland, which came into being on December 1, 1963, was on the threshold of a bright future with hope for an early and final settlement to the Naga political issue. 
Stating that political negotiations were going on for the last 21 years, he said there was no problem that was insurmountable with collective will of the people. He exuded confidence that the dream for a developed Nagaland would become a reality one day where economic independence and stability, quality education and state-of-the-art healthcare facilities would be the parameters and indicators of progress of the State and its people.
Dwelling on the recent calamities triggered by incessant rainfall across the State, Rio said Independence Day was being celebrated at a time when the State was ravaged by unprecedented heavy rains and landslides, causing widespread damage to life, property, roads and bridges.
He also mourned the loss of 10 precious lives and acknowledged the prompt response of all stakeholders, including the government departments, Association of Off-roaders Nagaland (AON) and people from all walks of life, for their prompt action in making roads and highways operational without much delay so that supply of essential commodities was not disrupted. 
He said restorative works had been initiated and urged all people to be aware of the imminent disasters that could occur due to unplanned development and encroachment on to drains, especially in urban areas.
Rio referred to the visit of Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju and officials of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), all of whom reviewed the situation on August 5.
He expressed his gratitude to the Central government for responding to the distress call of the people of Nagaland and deputing two Indian Air Force helicopters to transport essential commodities to areas that were cut off totally.
Meanwhile, Rio once again reiterated his government’s commitment to play the role of an active facilitator in the ongoing negotiations between Government of India (GoI) and Naga political groups and listed several measures that had been undertaken like setting up of a Political Affairs Committee, conducting consultative meets with tribal hohos and civil society organisations and calling on representatives of Government of India regularly.
He recalled the consultative meeting with the tribal hohos on May 11 at Kohima, which resolved to urge all Naga political groups, including NSCN-K, to renew the ceasefire with GoI and join the peace talks in order to reach a solution that was inclusive. He added that a resolution was made to request NLA speaker to reconstitute the erstwhile Joint Legislators’ Forum for pursuing an early solution to the Naga political issue.
He urged the negotiating parties, especially GoI, to expedite the peace process and respond to the voice of the people by bringing a political solution at the earliest, even as he reiterated his government’s commitment to pave the way for an alternative arrangement that could arise from the political agreement.
Highlighting the initiatives of the State government, which include steps to end VIP culture and focus on governance and development, Rio said today all government departments had their websites, besides being present on social media platforms to make the government more accessible to people.
He informed the gathering that biometric attendance had been made mandatory to ensure efficiency, adding that steps had been initiated to ensure that the government functioned with transparency and accountability.
Stating that one of the top priorities of his government was to ensure better roads, Rio said repair of all major roads in the districts had been taken up, adding his government was on track to declare Nagaland open defecation free soon and also to declare the State plastic free.
Rio said Nagaland had been by and large peaceful, barring sporadic attacks by certain suspected insurgent groups on security forces that resulted in “unfortunate” loss of few precious lives, adding that with the active intervention by the administration and police, the incidents were brought under control without any further escalation.
He said the Assembly polls in February and Lok Sabya by-election in May were held peacefully by the administration with support from the police and Central forces.
He said the PDA had decided to set up women police stations in all Districts to ensure that Nagaland continued to be among the safest States for women in the country.
Rio said TA/DA allowances for policemen were enhanced with implementation of 7th ROP that ensured higher emoluments when deployed on duty within and outside the State. 
He said his government had also enhanced ex-gratia payable to the next of the kin of personnel of Assam Rifles, Armed Forces, CAPF and Nagaland Police in incidents involving fatalities, non-fatal disabilities or injuries.
To strengthen police infrastructure, the chief minister said residential and non-residential buildings had been completed at the 12th, 13th and 14th NAP (IR) Battalion headquarters and the office complex of police commissioner, Dimapur was also completed.
He said the infrastructure needs of fire services, civil defence, home guards and village guards were augmented to meet the increasing requirement for security, traffic management and disaster management.
All village guard posts in the State had been provided mobile phones to enhance their effectiveness and enable them to be more accessible for command and control, he added.
The chief minister asserted that sustainable agriculture and livelihood security by 2025 by focusing on increasing crop production and productivity by promoting farm mechanisation was the prime objective of the State.
He explained that its objective was to brand agricultural produce as organic and create a greater value for the farmers, while integrated farming systems by having agriculture with fishery, livestock rearing, horticulture and forestry would help in doubling agricultural income for the farmers by 2022.
Rio said organic fruits and vegetables, Naga silk and Naga honey were increasingly becoming popular and held a huge potential for augmenting farmers’ income. In this regard, he said his government on June 15th had constituted an organic committee to review, coordinate and formulate proposal for formation of an Organic Mission in the State.
In education and health sector, Rio said for the first time, school education department had been able to achieve 100% e-transfer of MDM funds till the school level and this had helped in eliminating possibilities of fund leakages at any level.
After GPS mapping of all schools in the State, he said the school education department was implementing a Personnel Location System (PLS) through which the public could have access to information regarding teachers and staff being placed in schools throughout the State.
Under higher education, he said with funds from Rashtriya Uchchtar Shiksha Abhiyan, Wakching New Model College (Science stream) under Mon district was established with a campus area of 18 acres.
He said the college was nearing completion and would soon have separate administrative and academic blocks, two 50-bedded hostels for boys and girls, library and laboratories with lab/office equipment and furniture, adding similar augmentation of buildings and infrastructure were taken up in all 15 government colleges across the State.
Rio said his government had proposed to start polytechnics at Aboi (Mon), Peren and Kiphire, besides the newly-inaugurated government polytechnics at Seithekierna C in Dimapur, Sedem in Tuensang and Tsunazho in Phek.
The chief minister said to ensure access to healthcare for all, the PDA government had entered into an agreement with National Health Authority to implement health insurance scheme that would provide insurance coverage benefit of Rs 5 lakh per family per annum for hospitalisation under the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission (PMRSSM).
He said this scheme was expected to cover over 2.70 lakh beneficiary families and this cashless transaction scheme would reduce out-of-pocket expenditure that people incur on hospitalisation.
He claimed that Nagaland was one of the first States in the country to complete all procedural formalities under PMRSSM, adding that under Ayushman Bharat, 56 sub-centres would be upgraded to health and wellness centre in 2018-19, while two primary health centres in Kiphire district and three urban primary health centres were made operational.
About the recent seizure of formalin-injected fish, Rio claimed the health department was taking steps to ensure food safety under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, adding further action was taken to ensure that only healthy fruit, vegetables, meat and food items were sold in the market.
 

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