Nagas in Mumbai take part in a program at a hired auditorium in Mumbai in 2017. Without a Nagaland House in Mumbai, Nagas have found it increasingly difficult to come together as a community (Photo courtesy: Naga Students’ Union, Mumbai)
We desperately need a Nagaland House in Mumbai, say Naga students
Morung Express News
Kohima | October 4
The presence of a Nagaland House in metropolitan cities has always been a safe refuge for Nagas seeking education, jobs and medical treatment outside Nagaland State. Mumbai is home to over 4000 Nagas, comprising mostly of students and a working population. Every month now, it has witnessed an increase in cancer patients from Nagaland as well as Nagas from other states seeking medical treatment especially at one of the biggest Cancer centres in the country, the Tata Memorial Centre –Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer.
In a conclusion to its four-part series, The Morung Express explored how the non-occupancy of the already constructed Nagaland House in Navi Mumbai has become a grave problem for many Nagas, especially for students and cancer patients seeking medical treatment.
Difficult for newcomers
Roderick Wijunamai, former President of Naga Students’ Union, Mumbai (NSUM), mentioned that a memorandum was submitted to the Governor of Nagaland, PB Acharya on July 6, 2016 requesting him to look into the matter of Nagaland House in Navi Mumbai for its early functioning. However, they have not received any response yet.
“Many of the cancer patients who come here for treatment are not well to do and they face a lot of problem finding hotels and accommodation,” said Roderick while speaking to The Morung Express.
He noted that most Nagas come to Mumbai for education and medical treatment. The absence of a Nagaland House makes it difficult for newcomers to get in touch with Nagas in Mumbai to seek assistance and accommodation.
Citing many problems, also in organizing events which requires hiring halls and rooms, the NSUM President Wonthing said that a major challenge in the absence of the Nagaland House is especially faced by students coming to give entrance exams, where finding affordable accommodations become a problem in an expensive city.
Nagaland House is for public
Although built in 2010, a private real estate firm in Navi Mumbai has now proposed to take over the Nagaland House in Navi Mumbai with only 10 rooms to be made available for a state guest house at concessional rates (see the first three parts of the story for details). Naga students have now refused to accept any such proposal.
“Every year the student population is increasing. And we desperately need the Nagaland House for accommodation as well as organizing programs and meetings. We just hope that we don’t lose out our House to private companies. If so, it will be a loss for us. We hope it is run by our own government so that we feel more at home,” the President noted.
Speaking to The Morung Express on the matter, President of the Naga Students’ Federation, Kesosul Christopher Ltu, maintained, “We will never accept such proposals when the State has invested so much on the House. Nagaland House is made for the public and not just VIPs. If the proposal is accepted, then only VIPs will have access to it.”
Meanwhile, Er. Levi Rengma, Nagaland State Parliamentary Secretary for Housing, while talking about the proposal, stated that the government has not taken any decision on the same.
“Government will take decision after studying the proposal and also technicality etc. The file has been sent to the Law Department to suggest and advice on legalities,” said Er. Levi.
He, however, observed that the government should not accept the proposal “in totality.”
The commercialization of Nagaland House could threaten the loss of the whole Nagaland House in Navi Mumbai for flouting existing norms. It would also compromise a safe house for Nagas traveling to a city far from home.
What should the Government of Nagaland do?
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Read the whole Morung Express Series on Nagaland House in Mumbai here:
A Private Proposal for Public Property—I
A Private Proposal for Public Property—II
A Private Proposal for Public Property—III