KOHIMA, Aug 15 (IANS): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Saturday urged upon the need for an early and honourable solution to the Naga political issue so that peace, stability and all-round development can prevail in the State.
The Chief Minister said that 23 years of ceasefire and political dialogue is more than enough time to reach a logical conclusion and Nagas have longed for genuine peace for decades and there is a deep desire for an honourable and acceptable solution that would pave the way for all-round progress and development.
Unfurling the tricolour during the main Independence Day function at the Secretariat Plaza here, the Chief Minister reiterated the state government's role in the ongoing political dialogue of making all possible efforts in reaching a logical conclusion.
"The state government has carried out consultations with all sections of the society, including Tribal Hohos, mass-based organisations, church leaders, NGOs and all other stakeholders. Through the Joint Legislators' Forum, all the legislators have come together irrespective of party affiliations and political ideologies in the greater interest of peace and political solution," he said.
Rio also suggested that the civil societies discuss among themselves and create a conducive atmosphere with full understanding as one Naga family and he appealed to all sections of the society and every citizen to continue to make their honest contribution for lasting peace and to resolve the issue without further delay.
According to the officials in Nagaland, currently a nine-member team of the NSCN-IM (National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Isak-Muivah faction) led by chief negotiator Thuingaleng Muivah has been holding informal talks since Monday in New Delhi with the Centre as a prelude to the formal talks expected to begin after August 15 and some significant development can be expected by September.
The NSCN-IM, one of the most influential rebel groups in the northeast, has held several rounds of negotiations with the government in Delhi as well as outside India after signing a ceasefire pact in August 1997.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Centre had signed a "framework agreement" with the NSCN-IM in 2015.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the multiple economic challenges faced by the state owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, which have shown the vulnerability of the state in terms of food sufficiency and the pressing need for creating employment opportunities for the large number of 30,000 returnees, including students and workers.
In response to these economic challenges, a strategic committee for economic affairs headed by the Chief Minister was constituted. Subsequently a core group consisting of experts and other stake holders was constituted to work out strategies and action plans to strengthen the state's economy.
He said that special focus is also being given on sectors like up-gradation of facilities in healthcare, education, youth resources and sports.
The Chief Minister presented a brief report of all the important activities undertaken by the various departments over the years.