The Nagaland government has recommended to the Centre for a special economic package to resolve the demand for separate statehood by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples' Organisation (ENPO), minister K G Kenye said.
The ENPO issue is not political in nature but the state government has identified it to be more economic in nature as they have been lacking in various sectors including infrastructure, education, health and also the per capita income being lesser than the rest of the state, said Kenye while interacting with media persons here on Thursday.
"If those issues are addressed, there will be no other problem… we have to address all those grievances with more concentrated focus on the ENPO areas," the Nagaland government spokesperson said. Eastern Nagaland comprises of six districts -- Mon, Tuensang, Kiphire, Longleng, Noklak, and Shamator – which are inhabited by seven tribes of Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Sangtam, Tikhir, and Yimkhiung.
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The ENPO is demanding a separate state of eastern Nagaland. On the state government not addressing the grievances of the ENPO despite huge amounts of funds being pumped in by the Centre for Nagaland since statehood, Kenye opined that channelization of funds might have been wrong or it did not reach the places or for the purpose which it was meant.
However, to make up for all those lost time, he said the state government has proposed to the Centre for an economic package for the ENPO area so that they march and speed up to catch up with the rest of the state.
On the delay of the talks, he said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the ENPO have been involved in talks without the state government for too long… had they involved the state government from the very beginning it could not have taken so much time. He also said that the involvement of the state government in the talks should not be seen as a part of interference nor an obstacle to delay, because the state has just joined the talks.
"If there has been delay the state government does not have any hand in it and will never stand in the way of any arrangement reached between them," he said. "We are trying to play the healing role between the ENPO and Centre and asking them to come down and accept what is possible on the ground and not to have too lofty programmes on either side," he said.
Kenye said that the state government is glad that the ENPO is approaching the state government for support.
There had been no misunderstanding ever since the state government had recommended the ENPO case in 2011, he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that the ball on the demand of the ENPO is in everybody's court.
On ENPO reaffirming to stand by its last year's resolution to boycott the upcoming Hornbill Festival, he said "We will discuss about that".
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