The All Commercial Vehicle Owners’ Association’s (ACVOA) ongoing Chakka Bandh in Nagaland has brought the state’s transportation sector to a standstill in the affected districts. This protest, now in its fifth day, stems from the government’s inability to clear payments for private vehicle hiring charges requisitioned during the State Assembly Election of 2023.
Despite the government’s belated sanctioning of Rs 11,62,00,000 for payment, the ACVOA remains skeptical, echoing a widespread lack of trust in government assurances. This skepticism, fueled by a history of unfulfilled promises, has propelled the protest to escalate, with Telecom and construction vehicles now being targeted. This skepticism continues to fuel the protest and raises the specter of further escalation.
The Chakka Bandh’s impact extends beyond transportation disruptions, affecting essential services and impeding economic activity. The restriction on fuel distribution in Mokokchung underscores the protest’s far-reaching consequences. It’s imperative to strike a balance between upholding the protest’s momentum and ensuring that essential services remain operational.
At the same time, the growing solidarity from other districts, with more organizations joining the Chakka Bandh, indicates a deepening unrest that the government cannot ignore. The protesters have garnered the backing of various community groups and civil society organization, signifying the resonance of their grievances with a broader section of society – uniting behind shared grievances.
This protest goes beyond mere dues and payments; it’s a call for accountability and transparency in governance. The people of Nagaland have spoken, and it is now incumbent upon the government to listen attentively, act expeditiously, and rebuild the trust of its citizens.
Meanwhile, questions linger about the payment status of private vehicles requisitioned during the same election in some of the other districts like Kohima, Dimapur, and Chumoukedima – who are not currently protesting. Have they received their dues? If yes, the question of preferential treatment looms. If not, why are they not protesting? Were private vehicles from other states also requisitioned, and if so, have they received their payments? The matter of who covers the election expenses, whether the central or state government, adds another layer to this complex issue. Ultimately, it all leads back to concerns about governance quality, transparency, and trust.
In the final analysis, the Chakka Bandh is a symptom of poor governance, a lack of transparency, and deep-rooted trust issues. The government must act decisively to resolve the payment issue, restore trust, alleviate the transportation crisis, and prevent further economic disruption. The people of Nagaland deserve better.