The retrogressive culture

Z Lohe
The Nagas are found to be fond of being unique. Not only the Nagas but other communities living in other places are also unique in the creation of God. No race or community is bereft of its uniqueness. Yet, the uniquely unique culture of the Nagas is the culture of retrogression. Once the then Chief Secretary of Government of Nagaland, Lalhuma commented that when a Naga does business, he begins with grocery shop and ends up in ‘gumti’ (Pan shop). It is not with everyone perhaps, and yet probably he came across such an instance.

To speak the least, few of such retrogressive instances are: 
Dimapur- Kohima 4-Lane
: In other States, the road of single lane is upgraded to double lane, the double lane is upgraded to 4-lane and so on so forth; whereas, the Nagas being very unique, the 4-land Dimapur-Kohima road has now been reverted to double land road. The State Government of Nagaland perhaps realized that Nagaland is a small State having just 16,579 sq km with hardly 20 lakh populations which is a mere 7 lakh more than Guwahati city population alone. Therefore, in the wisdom of Nagaland Government, 4 lane road is an extravagance and so it has to be decimated to very practical double lane only. And so, from the very beginning perhaps the contractors were advised to go slow with the works beyond Preiphema. Today, we all have to be contented with a mere two lane road except the erratic 4 lane from Dimapur to Priephema. The local papers carried the comment of the Chief Minister of Nagaland dated 12.7.2023 that the Dimapur-Kohima 4-lane was not constructed properly indicting the NHIDCL. During the last 6 years, there was so much opportunity for the Government to synchronize with the NHIDCL, the contractors and the public to give necessary protection to contractors to give us the quality workmanship. On the contrary, none bothered. The contractors were left in the lurch to be harassed and heavily taxed illegally. It is no point lamenting after the bus has left. The double lane from Preiphema to Kohima was mended just to give reception to those G20 delegates who came to Kohima. The moment the G20 delegates departed, the contractor for the Phase 111 too departed. 7 years had been invested on this 4 lane road, and the Government could hardly complete less than 50% of the total distance. We being unique, we better realize that any mega project does not suit us except the micro and mini projects. From 4-lane to 2-lane being a historical achievement, I now realized the reason why the non-NDPP and the Non-BJP MLAs flocked to give unconditional support to make it Opposition free Govt. in appreciation of the retrogressive achievement.  

The Unique supply of power: Being a resident of New Ministers’ Hill, Kohima, I am talking from my own context since I have no knowledge about the power condition in other colonies. It will be more embarrassing for the Power Department to have the excuse of the Hydro Power Projects generating less power for want of the requisite volume of water due to which there has to be shortfall of power supply from the common grid followed by regular load shedding during this monsoon. I do remember enjoying the more regular power supply from December first till tenth annually in the name of the visitors from outside to Hornbill festival. When I enjoy the regular power supply for several hours at Kohima, I used to feel as though I am somewhere in other State and not in Nagaland.  

The load shedding of power supply to our colony has been regularly irregular, and I tend to think that our colony is the worst victim of the Power Department. The long intervals of load shedding are torturous to the consumers. I particularly feel for the daily wage earners whose works are power dependent.

Nagaland is in its 60th year of its Statehood. Nagaland has its own hydro potentialities to generate sufficient power to meet its needs. Why the Government of Nagaland does not bother to become self reliant at least in one sector? Why remaining complacent with dependence and begging culture?

The Water Scarcity: The citizens of Capital Kohima used to spend huge amount of money on purchase of drinking water during the whole lean period annually. The have-nots and the poorest of the poor are not spared from the burden of ‘water tax’. No man can afford to die out of thirst. In terms of priority for survival, rice is the secondary to water. There is the best water source available for Kohima town. Why has the Government not given sincere efforts to bring that water for the people of Kohima? What is the output in mitigating the scarcity of drinking water by the investment made on Pumping Project from Dzü-ü River? Making investment on what is not worth investing is the retrogressive culture.

The State of Nagaland was given the same amount of fund for development of infrastructure for full-fledged Kohima High Court along with Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya at a time. The latter three States could complete the infrastructures and started their High Courts since 2013. Where has the Kohima High Court gone? Who has devoured the High Court and compelled Kohima to remain just a branch of the principal Guwahati High Court along with Arunachal Pradesh? The greed is in progression and the progress is in stagnation which is the accepted culture.

The instances of the retrogressive culture in Nagaland are endless. It is futile too as no amount of wakeup call can give pricking sense to the thick skin of the concerned. Even the mighty powers like ED, NIA or CBI are no match to Nagaland. Including the Naga public do not realize how the retrogressive culture has been adversely impacting the citizens in the 60th year of the Statehood in dissent free Nagaland.