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During a recent event at Chumoukedima I expressed my view about the lack of development in our state because of the misuse of article 371(A). Let me briefly point out a few reasons for my statement.

1. All Northeastern states have either upgraded their airports to international standards and States which did not have airports before now have fully functional modern airports that are capable of handling international flights. Nagaland’s lone airport in Dimapur has been encroached upon by our own people which has completely ruled out any expansion or upgradation of the airport at par with most modern airports around the country. Moreover, the district administration over the years has just stood as mere spectator to the land encroachments. This is also a primary reason why the state Government has for years pursued an alternate airport in Kohima and rightly so.

2. The Prime Minister virtually inaugurated 508 railway stations in India on 6/08/2023 to be upgraded to world class stations. Dimapur Railway station alone has been given Rs. 208 crores for the station development. The ugly head of land encroachers has not spared even the railway land at Dimapur. A very large portion of the railway land has been encroached by our own people and here as well the District Administration has not ever tried to evict land encroachers because all cite Article 371(A).

3. Assam state is extracting oil from 28 oilfields from Assam Nagaland Border. The Government of India has upgraded the following refineries:

a. Numaligarh 3 MMT to 9 MMT (Million Metric Tons)

b. Digboi 0.50 MMT to 1 MMT

c. Guwahati 1 MMT to 2 MMT

d. New Bagaigaon 2.35 MMT to 5 MMT

The total production was 6.85 MMT before upgradation which generated Rs 180000000000/-(Eighteen Thousand crores) for the State of Assam in the last 10 years. Now after upgradation of all oil refineries in Assam the capacity has more than doubled to 17 MMT which will roughly generate approximately Rs 440000000000/- (forty four thousand crores) in ten years for Assam. On the contrary the people of Nagaland have cited Article 371(A) and not allowed extraction of oil because land and its resources belong to the people. Will we extract oil when the world has no use of it because most of the world is now moving to clean and renewable sources of energy.

4. The Dimapur-Kohima 4 Lane is the biggest example of the misuse of Article 371(A) where the government had to negotiate with every single land owner from Dimapur to Kohima for land acquisition and it took nearly 10 years to just acquire the land. Had it been in other states the need of the public prevails over the want of one. In other states land acquisition for public infrastructure is never a problem because the Government of the day does not have to negotiate and convince every person. Assam is the best example where landowner issues are never a cause of impediment for public infrastructure development by the Government.

For those who are of the opinion that Article 371(A) in no way impedes the development of our state and that corruption is the only cause of our state’s inability to develop then corruption has to stop first and foremost with the voter. I have not made any comment on the ongoing political negotiation in relation to Article 371(A) nor have I said to dilute article 371(A) when negotiations are at a crucial stage.

Last but not the least my statement on Article 371(A) was to provoke the minds of fellow citizens in respect of the misuse of Article 371(A) in matters of development activities. The views are only my personal and does not reflect those of the NDPP or its leadership.

TOKHEHO YEPTHOMI

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