Active Partners

The inauguration of the 2x100KW Tuphaleri Mini Hydel Power Project at Chizami in Phek district by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Saturday is a triumph of sorts for Nagaland’s communitization Programme. The fact that it may well turn out to be the first community owned mini hydel power project in the country is indeed a great achievement and one that should be emulated as a successful model of people’s ownership whether be it in areas such as education, health, rural water supply, rural tourism, roads, forest, sanitation etc. 

It is obvious that with the complexity of problems and growing administrative task, it makes good sense to entrust the running and management of public institutions to people themselves. In modern administrative parlance, the government would need to divest more and more of its powers through proper delegation of responsibility. 

Take for instance the concept of the Village Development Board (VDB) which is a unique contribution of Nagaland in terms of it being a model of governance in which the village community is at the center of rural development. Before the concept of VDB was formed development activities had taken a back seat with corruption pilfering away funds meant for village development. The VDBs over the years not only took care of the defaulting system but it also facilitated the decentralization of power and planning, while empowering leaders at the grass root level.

UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan had once said: “Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development”. As such the State government besides formulating development priorities for the communities and preparing action plans must properly imbibe a good governance model to take the fruits of development to the common man in the villages. 

On the socio-economic front while people in general have to some extent enjoyed the fruits of development but much more still needs to be done. For a developed Nagaland to become a reality the political leadership in partnership with other stakeholders must work out a holistic approach to development. In particular, the development of infrastructure in the realm of roads, power and communication should remain a high priority agenda. Another pertinent area that needs continuous attention is the tourism sector as it has enormous scope for generating wealth and employment for the local economy. Besides, education and health care development will remain a constant challenge that must be addressed if people are to remain both physically healthy and economically productive.

The Tuphaleri Mini Hydel Power Project at Chizami is a good example of people taking ownership of the development process.  It is expected that both the government and the community should continue working in close partnership for development to take root and grow from there. Rightly so, the Nagaland Communitisation of Public Institutions and Services Act having enlarged the scope of community participation in development and welfare programmes, the government should leave no stone unturned in its efforts to facilitate economic progress and self-sufficiency for rural Nagaland. On its part, the people, as in Chizami, should remain active partners in the development process.