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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 79

Dr Lotha says Shrivastav’s belittling of Vajpayee’s contributions to Nagas unfortunate

Kohima, 15 November, ( Nagaland Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr TM Lotha criticized PP Shrivastav, Member, North Eastern Council (NEC) for his belittling the unprecedented economic package and contribution made to Nagaland by former NDA Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The senior retried bureaucrat, during a public hearing on the North Eastern Vision Document 2020 at the Zonal Council Hall on November 5 last, said “Atal Behari Vajpayee’s commitment of 250 crores and 25000 jobs for Naga youth during his 2003 (Nagaland) visit is a promise unfulfilled and also a shame.”

In a statement issued here on Wednesday, the Minister termed as “unfortunate” the remarks made by Shrivastav and further questioned whether he was referring the “unfulfilled promise” to Vajpayee or the present UPA Government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh.

Dr Lotha reminded the NEC Member that it was the former NDA Prime Minister Vajpayee who gave this unprecedented economic package amounting to Rs 1053 crore when he officially visited the State on October 29, 2003. “We still insist that the present UPA Prime Minister announce even 1 crore economic package for the Naga people,” he stated adding, “We will be happy.”

The senior State BJP leader also disclosed that as soon as the DAN came to power in the State on March 6, 2003, Vajpayee had given Rs 365 crore to the State to wipe out the accumulated deficit of the previous Congress regime. The Congress leaders and for that matter Mr Shrivastav should be rather happy for at least wiping out their accumulated deficit, he pointed out.

The Minister also highlighted the major works completed and already taken up with the Vajpayee’s economic packages viz Agriculture, Village Industries, Horticulture, Floriculture, Medical Plants, Bamboo Products and Bamboo Mission, Tourism and Transport, development of infrastructure of Nagaland University at Lumami and Kohima Campus, Tourism Circuit to link areas in Northern Nagaland, particularly Mon district, Regional Information Technology, Second Phase completion of Indira Gandhi Stadium, completion of Sainik School, up-gradation of District Hospitals, Rural Employment Generation Program, development of eco-friendly municipal waste treatment plants at Dimapur, Kohima and other towns, etc. Many of these in fact remained as White Elephant and it was only after Vajpayee started paying special attention for the overall development of the State, things got moving in right direction, he added.

Dr Lotha also said that it was again Vajpayee who had even created a history of sort becoming the first Indian Prime Minister by not only inviting the collective leadership of the NSCN (IM) to India to have wider consultation with leaders of all political parties and leaders of Indian civil societies and Naga societies but also declaring the “uniqueness of Naga identity.” “This has actually paved the way for taking the leaders of parties concerned to a very systematic and logical scale for finding a lasting political solution,” he explained. “Had Vajpayee continued to remain in power, by now the major problem of the political issue would have been solved. Unfortunately, the BJP-led NDA lost power at the Center.”

The Minister also said Shrivastav should remember that Vajpayee as Prime Minister visited the State on October 29, 2003 and he had to leave office in May the following year after his NDA lost power at the Center. During these seven months Vajpayee as Prime Minister had changed the face of Nagaland which was neglected for decades by the previous Congress regime. It was only after his award of economic package to Nagaland, many developments, as already highlighted above, took shape. Unfortunately the road and 25000 jobs for Naga youth as promised in the economic package remained unfulfilled due to the non-release of funds by the Congress-led UPA Government, he stated. “However we still hope that good sense prevail to the leadership of the Congress-led UPA Government at the Center in fulfilling whatever was given to Nagaland during Vajpayee time,” the Minister asserted.

- Asian Tribune -

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