Don’t reserve for dignitaries only

Moa Jamir

The Government of Nagaland has proven its capability to provide impeccable services when it chooses to do so. The State Government and its various agencies impressively spruced up and presented a "presentable image" to the dignitaries attending the G20 Dialogue forum's Business 20 (B20) 'Conference on Opportunities for Multilateral Business Partnerships in Agriculture and Food Processing' in Kohima from April 4-6.

Desolate streetlights were repaired, roads were cleaned, and greenery was added to cover up "unsightly areas." Even the welcome gate to the hill section of the State was constructed within an incredible time frame, an action that citizens are not accustomed to. The icing on the cake was allowing the sale of liquor within the ambit of the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act 1989, giving VIP visitors access to a service that normal citizens in "dry" Nagaland have been denied for over three decades.

Nagaland is known to showcase its credentials as the "Land of Festivals," with exotic cultural extravaganzas as its unique selling points. However, recent actions affirm that the State Government and its agencies are exceptionally capable of being efficient administrators and service providers. The question remains, are they willing?

This raises several related but pressing queries: why are these efforts and changes in attitude only reserved for foreign dignitaries or Very Important Persons (VIPs)? What about the general public and the state of affairs they have to live with every day? Should they not have the right to cleaner and well-lit streets and good roads? Is it not their right to live in a clean and presentable state?

Providing essential services such as healthcare, education, roads, and public welfare services to citizens is the government's utmost responsibility. These services are critical for the well-being, prosperity, and survival of the people. Yet, in many areas of Nagaland, these services are non-existent, woefully inadequate, or practically nonexistent.

It is understandable and expected of any government to provide hospitality to guests or visitors to the State. However, the government should not only focus on providing services to foreign dignitaries; citizens also deserve the same level, or at least some level, of attention and services. It is not enough to put on a show for a few days and then revert to the same state of affairs as before. Citizens of Nagaland should not be treated as second-class citizens in their own state and must be prioritized. They deserve to live in a cleaner and more "presentable" state, and the onus lies with the State Government to ensure it.

The citizens cannot resigned to what John Milton resorted himself to in Paradise Lost - "They also serve who only stand and wait" as a consolation. They have witnessed the remarkable capability and ability of the State Government to do incredible works, and as such, they cannot "afford to wait any longer." The citizens deserve the same courtesies from the Government that are provided to foreign dignitaries and they are eagerly awaiting action.

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