Kohima | June 20
With a united vision for the Nagas under an ‘opposition less government,’ Vikheho Swu, Minister for Roads and Bridges says that Nagas need to follow “What is Right” and not “Who is Right.”
Starting from his high school and college days, which was spent entirely on student activities, Swu believes that he was born for activism. He went on to become the President of the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) in 1993-95, after which he was actively engaged in the Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR).
Joining politics for the former Student leader was for the “the sake of my people,” he said in a exclusive interview to the Morung Express. Hailing from Pughoboto, Swu informs that in terms of development, Pughoboto has been deprived of many facilities. The constituency remains very close to the capital but lacks immensely in terms of development, especially roads. According to the Minister, it has been only two years since his constituency acquired direct road connectivity to Zunheboto. Previously, people were compelled to ply through Wokha and Mokokchung to reach Zunheboto.
“The policy in Nagaland is not so holistic that you develop even an opposition constituency. We have not come to that level yet,” lamented Swu.
A vision for self reliance
“In two and a half years I don’t think I will achieve much, given the time constraint and fund constraint but the little thing that I can do is change the system,” said Swu, who views that the working systems in the government need reconstruction. Optimistic about the physical improvement of quality works and change in the working system, the R&B Minister hopes to deliver better working systems within the next two and a half years of his term.
“My vision for Naga people is that we have to be self-reliable. And all of us have to work towards that. In order to be self reliable, Nagas have to go back to the base which is currently lacking in the people today,” said Swu.
Citing the example of the consumption of pork and poultry in Nagaland which is mostly imported from other states, Swu stated there is not enough poultry to suffice the need of Kohima town, but Nagas are not willing to rear cattle, pigs or poultry, although the field of entrepreneurship remains vast. Claiming that there are many areas which can tap entrepreneurship without any technical support from outside, Swu said that Nagas need to explore what is within and what has market instead of bringing new products from outside. “Educated people should go back to the grassroots” affirmed Swu.
An advocate for self-reliance and sustainability, Swu has initiated a new program as part of his Thuwu ni (it means-to progress) Pughoboto mission with a vision to make Pughoboto a meat producing centre. The program which is called “3 for All” is a piggery project initiated in 2014 in collaboration with LADP. Under the project 280 piglets in Pughoboto has been distributed to 78 families. A small scale and decentralized project, 3 piglets are given to one beneficiary who in turn will contribute 3 piglets to the next group when the pig litters.
“In Nagaland, in any situation that we come across, there is a tendency to look more at ‘Who is right?’ rather than ‘What is right,’ viewed Swu. He felt there is a need for Nagas to understand one another despite differences and progress as a people.
“We ignore what is right. Collectively Nagas should look for what is right for the Naga people,” said Swu. Only then he added can sectoral or tribal feelings be sidelined.
On working in an Opposition less government; Swu asserted that if the situation can be taken advantage of, it is a plus point for the Naga people. “Because no matter how much we want to execute things in Nagaland one big factor is the Naga political issue and unless we solve this, many of our dreams will just continue to be dreams,” noted Swu.
This is the final part of the two-story series