Nagaland youth demands “Solution Before Elections” ahead of Assembly Polls

Story highlights

  • Nagaland youth civil joined the call for “Solution Before Elections
  • The youth has demanded a big investment to generate employment

Many believe the crux of the problem lies in the state’s political instability, which explains why student bodies and civil society groups joined the call for “Solution Before Elections”.

Almost every major political party had signed a declaration demanding that the framework agreement between New Delhi and the NSCN(IM), which was announced with much fanfare in August 2015, be taken forward and elections are stalled till a “final solution” is reached. By February 7, however, after days of uncertainty, one by one political party broke ranks and filed their nominations.

The government of Nagaland, and all of Youthnet, constantly call people and tell them to invest in Nagaland because what they need is a big investment to generate employment.

A computer engineer, Richmond Ao had hoped to become a software programmer. But try as he might, the 27-year-old could not find a job. And thus, his source of income is now his slightly creaky Maruti Alto. But Richmond will vote.

“Because I need to vote for the best, cleanest candidate there is, who will not be corrupt, and will find our young people work. My time has come and gone, but my brother is in college, and I do not want the same for him,” he said. It is perhaps the youth of Nagaland who has paid the highest price for years of insurgency and political instability that have wracked the state. Now with elections in less than three weeks, they are the ones who want change most urgently.

In October 2016, representatives of the state government admitted that there are over 70,000 educated, unemployed youth listed in the ‘Life Register’ as the employment register of the state Department of Labour and Employment is called. A complete lack of investment has left students across Nagaland completely reliant on the government for jobs. And when those run-out, very few options remain.

Even salaries ate taxed both by the underground and the Indian government. An investor wants protection from this because he can never operate in such an environment. Where then will the jobs come from? A solution isn’t just a political battle, it’s an economic necessity for our youth,” said a person involved in the education sector.

Banner Chawang (25) is both a computer engineer and an MBA from the School of Management Studies in Nagaland University, but is “still looking for a good job”. Chawang, like many others in Nagaland, is proud of his Naga identity and has never considered leaving. “If I could meet the next Chief Minister for five minutes, I would tell him to build clean institutions so work gets done and then jobs and everything else will follow,” he said.

Asked for an example, Chawang points in the direction of the Dimapur-Kohima highway, a road that connects the state’s biggest cities. There are more potholes than tar and a journey of 75 km takes over three back-breaking hours. “If the main road is like this, can you imagine what it’s like everywhere else? Everything, even our future, comes through a road,” he said.

It’s 3.30 in the afternoon, and while the Kohima college has emptied, six students stand and chat at a small grocery store near the gate. A time when they too will seek jobs is fast approaching and there is urgency in their voice as they talk of “the solution”, NSCN(IM), Naga identity, and the elections in three weeks.

But there is also a sense of hope, even pride. One of them said, “Look around you. Nagaland is beautiful. Its people are warm, honest and respectful. There is very little crime against women, and the streets are safe any time of the night. And there is talent that is waiting to reveal itself. All we need is a chance.”

Also Read: Nagaland Polls: BJP Will Get only 3 to 6 Seats, Says Minister Kuzholuzo Nienu

Polling is likely to be held in Nagaland on February 27 and results are scheduled to be declared on March 3.

Source Input: Indian Express


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