When the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi landed at Dimapur Airport, different thoughts were reverberating in the minds of Naga society. Politicians thought that he would announce some economic package which will satisfy Naga people including undergrounds. The undergrounds thought that Modi will announce to resume dialogue with them. But civil society thought that Modi was a man with difference and neither politicians nor undergrounds can unduly influence him. They believed that Modi would do such thing which would be in common interest of general people.
The civil society proved to be correct. Modi did not do anything as such rather he announced which people did not imagine. He said that culture did not mean dance and costumes only. He did not say even a word about ‘unique history’ and ‘aspiration of Nagas’ as proclaimed by underground Nagas and their overground sympathisers. But he appreciated ‘unique cultural diversity’ and ‘rich tradition, which encompass total ethos of Naga forefathers inherited from time to time. When he said unique cultural diversity and rich traditions of Nagaland, Modi meant Naga culture of sturdiness, honesty, simplicity reflected in all Naga celebrations and actions. Modi described Nagaland as blessed with amazing bio-diversity and salubrious climate located in one of the 25 hot biodiversity areas of the world and this must be protected at all cost even as Nagas embark on sustained development of their resources. He said that Nagaland is graced by Mother Nature and whole of the North-East region is natural economic zone (already exist) in contrast to manmade Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in other parts of the country. But unfortunately they are untapped. He declared that he would do his best to work on Natural Economic Zones in NE promoting the biodiversity of this region which is its unique feature. He also appreciated the place which a mother occupies in a Naga family.
Intro: Modiji has silenced one and all. People of Nagaland did not expect what has been given to them without asking for.
While exhorting Naga people to come forward to work together for building a new, resurgent, stronger and more prosperous Bharatvarsh as well as Nagaland, Modiji identified the virtues of youths from Nagaland. He said that Nagaland is blessed with the young population well versed in English language and in tune with what is happening around the country and around the world. “This is an advantage which must be tapped. You must capture the IT out-sourcing business of the world in this part of the country”, said Modiji and added, “Nagas are sport-loving people and have the potential to perform well in disciplines such as boxing, tae kwon do, football and archery. These activities must be promoted in a systematic way to realise the potential of the people of this region and given the right direction.
For fulfilling the aspiration of Naga people and other communities in NE region he declared that Government of Bharatvarsh (GOB) has decided to (i) set up six new agriculture colleges and (ii) one modern apparel garment manufacturing centre in every NE State beginning with Nagaland, Assam and Sikkim. He said that GOB will spend, 20 crore on this project. Rs 53, 000 crore is earmarked for NE development. Rs 28,000 will be provided for 14 new railway lines which will promote tourism in the region for which road, rail and air connectivity is needed. He added that in addition to the above, the digital connectivity is the need of the hour. The Central Government has sanctioned Rs 5,000 crore for 2G mobile coverage for enhanced connectivity with a goal of 24 x7 x 365 power supply. Rs 5, 000 crore has been sanctioned for six NE states including Nagaland for intra-states transmission and distribution system. A unique scheme called Ishaan Uday (Resurgent NE) is a special scholarship for 10,000 NE students. The other Ishaan Vikas (Development of NE) scheme will provide opportunities for internships and visits to IITs, NITs, and NIFTs in other parts of country during vacations for students of NE. Every year 2,000 students and 500 teachers will benefit from this scheme. A National Sports University in Manipur will be established and people of Nagaland will be among primary beneficiaries of this University.
In addition to above, an economic corridor will be established using NE Bharat, Myanmar and adjoining regions and NE Bharat will be gate way of South-East Asia in future. The Central Government is keen on building modern infrastructure in the NE to unlock its potential. The Prime Minister urged all the chief ministers of North-Eastern states to help one another for all round and long lasting development of the region.
By drawing a longer line, Modiji has silenced one and all. People of Nagaland did not expect what has been given to them without asking for. The State Government in Nagaland expected some package to the tune of 1,234 crore to bail out it, from financial crisis. The underground Nagas expected some hints how Modiji would solve vexed Naga problem. But nothing happened as such. Modiji went ahead of all these speculations.
He has done well. The benefits of schemes announced by him are also for armed cadres as well. If they want to enhance and advance their financial status, they have to work hard and get the privileges. If they want to remain in their hide-outs they will be left behind. The peace loving youths will go far ahead of armed Naga militants. The option is opened to them either to remain in Hebron—the NSCN(IM) headquarter or to come out to earn for sustainable development.
It is a clear-cut message to underground leaders as well that either you come out and join hands in nation building or you adopt the path as you like but never at the cost of peace and tranquility. To every visiting organisation, he asked, “Do you want peace? If yes, I shall give you.”
The political class and bureaucracy have been given signals that there would be no more Khusi-Khusi from now onwards. Investigating and intelligence agencies will monitor their actions and inactions.
They will be under scanner to check activities helping subversive and anti-national forces. “Either you discipline yourself or get ready to face the game”, is the clear-cut message to these people. If State Government fails to deliver they will be held responsible and the strings of purse will be tightened.
Jagdamba Mall (The writer is a Guwahati based journalist)