Peace needed for development: Patil

Kisama | March 10 : President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today underscored the need for peace to usher in development so that people can devote their energy to cultural, educational, social and economical development.  Addressing the public reception at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, on her maiden visit to the state today, the President made a fervent appeal to the people of Nagaland to ensure an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
She also opined that with its natural resources and conducive atmosphere, Nagaland can aspire to become one of the leading states of the Northeast. However, she asserted, people must work together as one unit, whatever tribe they are from, whatever region they may come from, and whatever community they may belong to in order to have a vibrant Nagaland and to add to the overall progress of the nation.
Noting that since attaining statehood in 1963 Nagaland has made significant progress; she acknowledged that though development started under very challenging circumstances, much has been achieved over the years in different fields. As compared to National averages, she noted, Nagaland excels in many social indicators and complimented for the achievements further urging the State to continue advancing on the path of development and peace.
Asserting that our nation is moving ahead to be counted as one of the major economies of the world, she said our objective remains to have a high economic growth rate and to have an inclusive growth process.
Towards this, she said, the accelerated development of the Northeastern region is fundamental for the country’s economic rise and Nagaland is very much a part of this process. Emphasizing on the development of physical infrastructure, particularly transport connectivity which is a prerequisite for economic development, she opined that Nagaland should harness its resources and its many potential areas of growth. Also noting that agriculture has a significant share in the state’s domestic product, she advised that the state government should aim to do away with the “slash and burn” method of jhum cultivation and move towards improve sustainable land base means of livelihood. She also underscored the need to build capacity for undertaking forest-based enterprises in a manner that while using forest resources, forest health is preserved and its wildlife and biodiversity are conserved.
Stressing that the quality of people determines the direction and vision for future growth, the President also maintained that there should be substantial investment in human capital and that education should also continue to receive high priority in the state’s agenda as also making quality heath facilities available for the people. She further stressed on the need for preservation and continuation of handicrafts and traditions of the state, acknowledging that Nagaland has the distinction of being a land of diverse tribes, cultures, colour and variety.
She further stated that the North East region stands strategically placed at the doorstep of the Nations of South East Asia and can play a crucial role in development and effective fructification of the “Look East Policy” which would also provide economic benefits to Nagaland.
Earlier, both Governor Nikhil Kumar and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, in their brief speeches, highlighted the urgent need to solve the Naga political issue so as to usher in more development and prosperity.

Rio plea GoI to resolve Naga political issue

Our Correspondent
Kisama | March 10

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today made an earnest plea that the Government of India makes concerted efforts to resolve the Naga political issue with full commitment. “The state and its people have been mired with conflict for too long, many precious lives has been lost, too much suffering has been faced by our people,” Rio told President Pratibha Devisingh Patil here today at the public reception programme.
Rio asserted that the people of the state are truly yearning for peace and speedy progress. “The time has now come to make peace and our people are anxiously waiting for a positive outcome of the Naga peace process, which is going on for a long time,” the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister recalled that Nagaland was carved out of Assam as the 16th state of the Indian Union 48 years ago as a result of the 16th Point agreement arrived at between the Government of India and the Naga People’s Convention. He continued that the state was given special status as well as special constitution safeguards by incorporating Article 371 (A) to the Constitution.
“We have come a long way since then. Despite constraints of resources, lack of infrastructure and institutional capacity, compounded by the continuing insurgency, we have been able to significantly expand the reach of the government and raise the socio economic status of our people,” Rio said.
Though long years of political strife, Rio said the unresolved six decade old Naga political issue, and the slow progress of the peace process have brought about a feeling of alienation and frustration amongst large sections of the Naga society.
Rio also expressed the hope that the lack of economic opportunities in the North East region, and the sense of alienation felt by the people would be overcome with the new “Look East Policy” of the Central government.
“However, we are somewhat disappointed with the slow implementation of the Look East Policy in this region,” Rio said adding that while the rest of the country has opened up to a globalized economy, attracting huge investments and economic resources, and is in the process of creating infrastructure of global standards,” Nagaland is yet to be connected by a decent four lane road, or a rail link, or an airport in state capital, Kohima.
“We also do not have a single central or regional institute of technical or professional education worth the name,” he said. As a result, while thousands of Naga boys and girls go out of the state in pursuit of higher studies, no students from other states come to Nagaland for education.
“This one-way traffic is not exactly conducive to building a sense of national integration. We feel it is a time the agencies of the Central government change their perspective of our state and make renewed efforts to address these imbalances,” Rio said.
Despite all these, Rio said, the state of Nagaland has been a bulwark in the face of enormous challenges to the unity and integrity of the country, adding “we have also, with the sustained supports of the government and civil societies, managed to bring about a semblance of peace in the state, and in the process, have helped to create hopes for a better tomorrow.”
Welcoming the President on her two day visit to Nagaland, Rio said her visit has come at the most opportune time and hoped that it will herald the fulfillments of “our hopes and aspirations, and mark the beginning of a new era in our shared destiny, one that is marked by trust and mutual respect.” “On our part, we are fully committed to an early and peaceful resolution to the Naga political problem, Rio added.

President Patil told to remove Kannan, AFSPA 

Dimapur, March 10 (MExN):  The Naga Students’ Federation today called the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Raj Bhavan and submitted a three point memorandum to represent the voice and sentiments of the younger generation to her. NSF President Mutsikhoyo Yhobu along with general secretary O. Wati Jamir and former President Achumbemo Kikon apprised the President about the prevailing situation in Nagaland University; revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Indo-Naga Peace Process.
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) asked the President of India to remove Nagaland University’s unpopular Vice Chancellor Prof. K Kannan and interestingly, alongside removal of the black law the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958. The apex Naga students’ organization issued a copy of a memorandum addressed to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. The President is in Nagaland on a two-day visit. Among other grievances, the NSF wanted the president to intervene, the memorandum emphasized on the demand for the removal of Vice Chancellor Prof. Kannan and the AFSPA.
Meanwhile, Yhobu has informed that regarding the NU crisis, in her response to the concern raised by the Federation, the President has asked them to be patient as the Vice Chancellor’s tenure would be over by July this year. He also said that the President has assured the NSF that their demand for appointment of a competent and a man of integrity as Vice Chancellor of Nagaland University would be fulfilled. On the ongoing Indo-Naga peace process, Yhobu said that the President had shown keen interest to know more about the Indo-Naga peace process and also asked the Federation to put up suggestions towards finding a solution which will benefit the Nagas as well as the Government of India.  
On the Vice Chancellor, the NSF demanded his immediate removal for corruption and mismanagement, which the NSF said are ‘substantiated’. The NSF explained the state of affairs in NU where allegations of corruption and mismanagement continue to plague the institution.
“Your Excellency would also appreciate that he has no moral right to continue as Vice Chancellor of NU as his in-competency and mismanagement of the university fund has been well substantiated. We are also aware of the bureaucratic red-tapism in the Government functioning as such, should the process for his removal stretches till July, his tenure should not be extended beyond July 2011 as his five years tenure comes to an end in July 2011. On removal of the present Vice Chancellor, we urge upon your Excellency to appoint a competent and a man of integrity as Vice Chancellor of Nagaland University so as to uphold the sanctity of the university.”
On the black law, the NSF said that continuous enforcement of the AFSPA in the Naga areas and other northeastern states including Jammu & Kashmir is only adding to the problems of the Government of India instead of bringing about any solution. “On the strength of this so-called draconian Act, the Indian Army has been harassing the innocent public and even women and children have not been spared. We therefore seek the prompt intervention of your Excellency for immediate revocation of the AFPSA,” NSF said.

Corruption, mismanagement and lack
The organization turned its sights again on embattled Nagaland University. 
NSF calls on President Pratibha Patil with 3-point memorandum

Amongst the central universities in India, the NSF said, NU “could be the only one where there is no Pro-Vice Chancellor”. 
The President is requested to appoint two Pro-Vice Chancellors for the Kohima campus, Meriema and SASRD campuses. “This will definitely help improve the functioning of the University and it will also relieve the burden of those students coming from far flung areas as the appointment of Pro-Vice Chancellor will create administrative conveniences.”
The shortage of faculty in NU was also explained in the memorandum. “The present Registrar of the university has already tendered resignation because he was implicated in cross financial irregularities and mismanagement. As a result, the university is running without a Registrar,” the NSF said.
There are vacancies still kept “in the cool storage without being advertised” because of which the university is short of faculty members.
Corrupt VC and NU officials
Likewise, the NSF decried the lack of basic amenities and poor infrastructure in NU. In spite of adequate funds sanctioned by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the university’s authority has no interest to develop the university, NSF stated.
 “On the other hand, the most of the university officials’ right from the Vice Chancellor are tainted with corruptions and scandals. As a result, even minimum basic amenities and infrastructure which a university ought to have, are not available in the NU.  An urgent intervention of Your Excellency is also required in this regard.”
The failed “Online question paper delivery system” and the issue of reservation for Naga youths in the various categories of appointments in Nagaland University were also broached.
Indo-Naga Peace Process
“As young people having dreams to grow and progress like any others, we are eagerly looking forward for peaceful settlement of the Indo-Naga political conflict. Indeed, Your Excellency must have been already briefed about the ongoing peace process vis-à-vis political talks between the Naga nationalist and the Government of India which is being continuing for about 14 years now without any tangible progress.”
The NSF assured that resolving the Indo-Naga issue is in the interest of not only the Naga people but also equally in the larger interest of India. “Therefore we urge upon your Excellency to make a very serious intercession and expedite the peace process vis-à-vis political talks so as to bring it to a logical conclusion,” the NSF stated.