Post Mortem

Foot Hill Road – Need Political Momentum

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/13/2021 1:07:07 PM IST

 The historic Nagaland foot hill road – famous for its long standing delay, which will connect the larger part of northwest and the southern part of Nagaland with Dimapur, has found some genuine voices recently. The reason being is the road and economic blockade resorted to by some groups in Assam against entering Nagaland. This, of course, caused inconveniences to the people of seven districts. They have to go through the Assam highways to enter their respective districts in Nagaland. It is known to all that if this foot hill road materializes, will benefit not only the transportation of essential commodities but also will protect the travelers to Mon, Longleng,Tuensang, Kiphire, Zunheboto, Mokokchung and Wokha districts from perennial harassment from our neighbours in Assam.

Nagaland is a slow state but some regions are slower than the others. In an age when communication makes so much difference, being slow means going more backwards. Incredibly this is because politicians and elected legislators of Nagaland do not do the simple things that they are elected to do. What we are experiencing today is a part of a larger story of an all decline and decay in political momentum particularly from the districts of Mon, Longleng, Tuensang, Kiphire, Zunheboto, Mokokchung and Wokha. It is reiterated that in recent times the foot hill road assume special importance but what ails this road is a collective incapacity to change its self destructive ways.

The general public is the most enthusiastic votary of the comfort that will come through the foot hill road. People from this region are even contemplating cooperation in trade, tourism and transport. But the state government is less than enthusiastic. The reason is best known to the government. Let there be no negativism over this project. It is a recipe for building new bridges both physically and politically.

It is seen that Nagaland foot hill road coordination committee (NFHRCC) was compelled to ask for financial contribution from the people towards advancement of this project. If so, will it not tell upon the quality of the ruling government? Foot hill road construction should not be treated like a nobody’s child. It requires determination and the will of the entire spectrum of political and social activists irrespective of colours on board. Such a task cannot be done by those who harbor partisan agenda. The road ahead is tough but this is where it requires massive people’s support. People of the region should treat this project as an election issue.

The special geographical features of the state deserve to bring a revolution of sorts in the communication network. Transport is the sinews of the state economy. Without adequate road system there can be no development of trade, social interaction and academic advancement. It is the road which determines location of many townships and its growth and nourishment. It is the road that gives its framework to all economic activities. 

Today majority of the people of the seven districts in Nagaland have to go through Assam’s’ highways and imagine how every traveler experiences pain and humiliation while passing through Assam. It is high time for elected legislators from these districts to rise to the occasion and to complete this by-pass project, otherwise this will reflect on their capability as public leaders. Therefore, a development conscious state trying to progress without proper road connectivity is by itself a contradiction.

Nagaland state should embark upon policy of self developmental economic growths by setting free the creative energy and business enterprises of our young people. Young generation is eager and wants to contribute in the economic growth. They are looking up to their political leadership. For a state to be meaningful, development has to be inclusive, comprehensive and extensive.

Really speaking, planning and development in government are not a game of numbers. It should be based on priority. After all, development is an exercise in social engineering designed to give maximum benefit to maximum people. State level planning should not merely be urban centric. It is necessary to realize that future of urban life depends on how government strengthens the rural economy; otherwise there will be influx of rural people into urban towns in search of jobs and food.

In such a scheme, the role of the state government is extremely important. State must provide at least minimum infrastructure – road that will provide maximum coverage linking foot hills, valleys and other remote areas. An effective plan of action with people’s participation can only help in the expeditious realization of economic self reliance and social justice.

Time has come to educate and to sensitize the general public over the importance and the immense value of this foot hill road through massive awareness campaign. Being a torch bearer the NFHRCC can coordinate the program by roping in all the stake holders to spread the awareness program. Print media too on regular intervals has highlighted the necessity of this road for the over-all interest of Nagaland. Therefore, to see the light of day, this road project needs a strongly renewed political momentum. Roads have universal value. They belong to all and must be supported and protected by all.

Mapu Jamir 

(I.A.S. Retd.)

Duncan, Dimapur.

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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