Showing posts with label Nagaland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nagaland. Show all posts
10 July 2014

Coming From Nagaland? Have Your Visa Ready! Mobile Phone Stores Staff Need to be Trained Well

By Alfie D'Souza

Mangalore: While I am writing this article, persons and business names are not revealed, only for the fact that I don't want any employees to get fired from their jobs because of their lack of knowledge and courteousness.

I really don't blame the store employees for their lack of customer service talents, but would blame the owners/management for not training their staff handling various departments about the company products, procedures and rules etc etc.

Sometimes when you apply for new mobile phone connection or any other matter, you will be surprised at all the documents the staff ask for, which actually is not needed and at same time its waste of your time and energy running to xerox shops to make bunch of copies.

By the way when did Nagaland became a foreign country ? Why do you need a visa to visit Mangalore? I thought Nagaland was still a Indian state, but according to a authorized mobile showroom staff it is not.

Other day I was at the mobile showroom to pay my bill, but since the automated paying kiosk was out of order, I stood in the queue inside the store to pay my bill. At that time there were two youth, I guess either from Tibet or Nagaland, trying to get phone service activated.

I could hear the conversation between the youth and the store employee - at one point I heard the staff asking them for their visa copies. The confused youth with much argument with the staff left the showroom in a grumpy mood.

Minutes later after done paying my bill, I approached the same staff and asked where the youth were from, and she replied they were from Nagaland.

Quickly I asked her again, then why were you insisting on their visa copies, since Nagaland is not a foreign land.

She was all puzzled and confused, and the manager who standing close by who heard us, directed the staff to run outside and look if she could find those two young youth from Nagaland, but all in vain. I bet they went to a better mobile showroom. What a blunder the staff did, just to lose two customers?

Another incident-- once again that too at a mobile showroom - my American friend who was on a visit here for couple of months wanted to see if he could get temporary SIM card. So I took him to the mobile shop, where the staff asked him for his copies of passport, visa and other travel documents etc - which he did.

After a while the store staff came and insisted copies of Voter's ID or a ration card. What a dumb question to ask a US citizen for a voter's ID and a ration card, when she knew he was a American on a vacation with a tourist visa. We didn't speak a word, instead left the shop, and later got him a SIM card under my friend's name at a different shop..

Sometimes getting a new mobile phone service is much more difficult than getting a passport or visa - too much hassles and too many documents to be produced for personal verification. Like few months ago, when I tried to get a new mobile service to be approved I went through hell - after all copies of needed documents were submitted, and after waiting for nearly 15-20 minutes, the mobile shop staff tells me that I look fair on my passport and OCI (Dual citizenship) card, and I look dark on my Karnataka State Drivers Licence. She wanted me to lighten the photostat copies of my DL - I had to go back again to the xerox shop, and after wasting nearly 10 copies, I finally got a perfect copy of my DL photo to match my PP photo. I still don't understand why the photo color mattered so much. I only wished the RTO office had a better camera device to take personal images ?

09 July 2014

‘Punishment posting’ may land Sheila Dikshit in Nagaland

‘Punishment posting’ may land Sheila Dikshit in Nagaland With Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit defiant despite being nudged by the home secretary to step down and make way for an NDA appointee, the government is considering transferring her to a smaller state. 

New Delhi, Jul 9 : With the NDA government having hinted at naming new governors mid-session, sources in the home ministry indicated that gubernatorial appointments for around seven to eight states may be announced shortly.

With Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit defiant despite being nudged by the home secretary to step down and make way for an NDA appointee, the government is considering transferring her to a smaller state. Her new address may well be Nagaland, as Mizoram governor Vakkom Purushothaman, who on Sunday was transferred to Nagaland, is reportedly unwilling to accept the new assignment and may resign.

As many as five Raj Bhavans fell vacant following the resignation of UPA-appointed governors, including B L Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh), M K Narayanan (West Bengal), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland) and B V Wanchoo (Goa).

Apart from these states, there is a vacancy in Gujarat after the NDA government on Sunday transferred incumbent Kamla Beniwal to Mizoram. If Dikshit is moved to Nagaland, a vacancy would arise in Kerala as well.

Meanwhile, the terms of some governors, including H R Bharadwaj (Karnataka) and Jagannath Pahadiya (Haryana) are ending later this month.

The NDA government's signal to certain UPA appointees in Raj Bhavans to step down had evoked a mixed response. While some governors sent in their resignations without much delay, others like Narayanan and Wanchoo waited to be questioned by the CBI in the AgustaWestland scam before quitting. Others like Beniwal, Dikshit and K Sankaranarayanan (Maharashtra) refused to take the hint, with the latter two even asking for a formal communication in case the Centre wanted them to resign ahead of their terms.

The likely list of NDA appointees in Raj Bhavans includes BJP veterans such as former UP Speaker Kesarinath Tripathi, Punjab leader Balram Das Tandon, former MP Lalji Tandon, senior party leader from Kerala O Rajagopal, former Union minister Ram Naik, Delhi leader V K Malhotra and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha.

Kalyan Singh too is being considered for governorship, but the former UP CM is reportedly unwilling to quit active politics yet.
27 June 2014

Mountain Echoes


FROM AFAR A Naga folk group in a still from the film
Special Arrangement FROM AFAR A Naga folk group in a still from the film

“Songs of the Blue Hills” looks at the contest between tradition and modernity in the music of the Nagas.

“All songs, be it of harvest, love, war and festivals, were sung in the community dormitory for the youth,” says Guru Zachunu Keyho, who has collected nearly 600 Chakhesang folk songs. He is remembering the days before the coming of schools and churches in Nagaland, when cultural wisdom was transmitted to the youth through folk songs and dances, at the morung or dormitory. For Keyho, those days are over. “Today’s youth don’t have any interest in these things. Thus, with every generation, we are losing our songs and tradition.”
Tradition is a word that recurs frequently in “Songs of the Blue Hills”, a new documentary by film critic and filmmaker Utpal Borpujari, which journeys through the music of Nagaland. Through interviews with musicians, music teachers and ethnomusicologists, the film looks at what ‘tradition’ entails, who lays claim to it, and how endangered it is.
Although popularly perceived as a single tribe, the Nagas comprise more than 40-odd tribes and sub-tribes, spread across North East India and in Northwestern Mynamar. Like ethnic communities the world over, folk music and dances are at the heart of Naga culture. Also, Nagaland is perhaps the only State which has a Music Task Force, which functions under the aegis of the State Government to promote music in the State.
“What is very interesting is that since the Nagas do not have written history – or the written word – traditionally, it is their folk music that helps orally pass on their history from one generation to another,” says Borpujari, who has previously made the documentary “Mayong: Myth and Reality”. “The idea was to maybe make a 40-minute-odd-long film. But as my team and I started researching and contacting people, I realised that it was not going to be as easy as it sounded. Every day we found new groups, new singers, and more and more interesting music.”
While the culture Keyho describes passed with the coming of the missionaries, whose influence coloured the music of the Nagas, lately there has been a revival of folk music with several young groups taking to it. Some of them are the Tetseo sisters, who belong to the Chakhesang tribe and sing Li; Purple Fusion, whose members belong to the Ao, Lotha and Sangtam tribes, and who borrow from the repertoire of each other’s tribes; and Moa Subong and Arenla Subong, who blend their traditional Ao sounds with rock influences.
While their efforts have not been received enthusiastically by some folk practitioners, who worry that fusion could destroy the “real Naga tradition and culture”, they are convinced that fusion is also a way of keeping tradition alive. The older and younger generation may disagree about the means of preserving tradition, but they are both acutely aware of its importance, and the need to sustain it.
In fusion, according to musicologist Abraham Lotha, “Certain element of dilution is there but I would see it in a positive light in terms of the artistes trying to be creative in their musical talents, and in creating such kind of fusion music there is a market for it too. So it does help spread Naga music beyond the borders of the Naga areas.”
The film, which has been screened at film festivals in Warsaw, New York, Gothenburg and Kochi among others, had to be confined within the borders of Nagaland owing to budget constraints, but Borpujari hopes to take “this journey further into Naga singers in other parts of Northeastern India, someday in the future.”
17 June 2014

India's 1st Solar Water Project in Nagaland

India's 1st solar water project in Nagaland The system removes up to 99.99 % bacteria from water selectively without hampering other elements and taste.

Kohima, Jun 17 : Nagaland minister for public health engineering department Noke Wangnao inaugurated an innovative water technology project — solar-powered water treatment unit — at Tsiesema village near Kohima on Friday. Nagaland is the first state in the country to set up the unique technology.

Wangnao said three similar projects had been installed in three most villages most hit by water scarcity in Kohima district - Tsiesema, Meriema and Kijumetouma.

At a time when the state badly needed a solution to the water scarcity problem of the villages, a Mumbai-based company developed a suitable technology which could readily solve the water problem and produce good quality water, the minister added.

A brief technical project report by Er Kevisekho Kruse, Nagaland's chief PHED engineer, added that the Additya Solar-operated Advanced Membrane Filtration system was designed to produce pure drinking water.

The system removes up to 99.99 % bacteria from water selectively without hampering other elements and taste.

It is a fully automated, solar-operated water treatment unit with very low power consumption and operating costs. The capacity of the system is 6000l per day.
16 June 2014

Nagaland on a plate: Dzükou Tribal Kitchen has reopened in Delhi

By Amrita Madhukalya

Dzükou Tribal Kitchen, which serves Naga food, has reopened in Delhi. The decor is the same and, thankfully, so is the food, says Amrita Madhukalya
For those of you lamenting the demise of the charming little Naga eatery that shut its doors late last year at Delhi's Hauz Khas Village, Dzükou Tribal Kitchen is back. Housed in a back alley of the tony neighbourhood, Dzükou had, arguably, the best view. If you've ever relished their delectable Naga pork ribs, sighing at the glorious sight of the sun going down on the Hauz-I-Alai while birds hurried by to their nests, you'd agree.

Just so that you don't buy into a misreading: Dzükou is now no longer at Hauz Khas Village. It has moved a few doors away to the Hauz Khas Main market, which along with the neighbouring Safdarjung Development Area (SDA) community market, has been the biggest beneficiaries of the exodus of good eating joints from Hauz Khas Village.

Adding its bit to the ever-growing universe of exotic cuisine in the capital, Dzükou, in its new avatar, is spacious (it boasts of parking space). But, once inside, you realise nothing much has changed. There is the same mural of three Naga tea garden girls, and almost the same menu. (Thank god for their pork ribs!)

The decor has changed a bit: interior designer Mukul Sood was roped in to do up the place. The result is a very traditional Naga ambience, with contemporary, minimalist chic. There is a six-seater and five eight-seaters, with the provision for Naga shawl blinds to accommodate more guests. There is a small fountain, where water spews from burnished bamboo, and the ceiling is dhokuwa, sourced from Assam, a traditional bamboo weave used as fences in village homes. The façade of a Naga hut stands in one corner of the room to serve as a bar that is still to open – the liquor licence is due soon. And there's a space for buffets, which owner Karen Yopthomi informs me, will also start shortly.

The menu is currently the old Naga menu, and there are plans to incorporate five dishes each from cuisines of all northeastern states.

We started with the smoked buff salad (Rs279), and the best-selling Naga pork ribs (Rs349). As with most northeastern food, the meat has just the right amount of chewiness and is smoked to perfection. The buff salad is a wee bit hot, and comes with fresh greens like yam leaves, Naga spring onions and fresh bamboo shoot. We were delighted that the succulent and crispy pork ribs had not changed at all and was in top form.

To wash down the starters, we called for the famed fruit beer (Rs149) next. It tasted better and headier than the pale beers one finds in Dilli Haat or in the eateries in North Campus, but we must warn you that it was really sweet.

For the main course, we ordered smoked buff curry (Rs319), chicken with fresh bamboo shoot (Rs319, there are alternatives of chicken and of dry bamboo shoot), a side dish of rosep aon (dry, Rs169) and pork anishi, a paste made of smoked yam leaves (Rs319). The smoked buff curry is not for the faint-hearted, there are generous dollops of raja mircha, known as the hottest chilli in the world, and fresh greens. The chicken with fresh bamboo shoot was full of flavour, and again, a bit hot. The rosep yon is an assortment of greens like bitter gourd, fresh bamboo shoot, yam leaves, Naga spring onions, Naga beans, etc. Our favourite amongst these was pork anishi — the smoked yam and the smoked pork has a character of its own, and you will most possibly reach out to more than one serving.

The mains also consisted of steamed rice (Rs99) and an assortment of chutneys — a smoked chilli-tomato-onion paste, raja mircha chutney with dry fish and raja mircha chutney with shredded beef (Rs129 each). It will need a warrior to survive the chilli-tomato-onion paste, but the raja mircha chutneys came with their own flavours. We strongly recommend the one with that came peppered with slivers of crispy roast beef.

Dzükou will also host musicians from the northeast, who will come and perform at the tiny platform.

The Tatseo Sisters performed last week, and Alobo Naga might perform in the coming few weeks.

Karen, who takes special care of the food cooked in the kitchen, sources her ingredients all the way from Nagaland. The smoked meats, the yam leaves, the axhone, the dry mushrooms, the Naga spring onions and the raja mirchi — all come to the capital on a train. And, I guess, that's what makes Dzükou's food so authentic and straight out of the lush valley in Nagaland. And oh, did we tell you that Naga food does not use any oil to cook us this storm?

‘The Last Headhunter’


An ethnic Naga headhunter in the remote village of Cheme Khuk in Burma’s far north. (Photo: Andrzej Muszynski)
Kachin State/Sagaing Division, northern Burma — In the remote village of Cheme Khuk in Burma’s far north, I am talking to a man who must be one of the last ethnic Naga chief headhunters still alive today. Now in his 80s, he recalls an episode from the last great war, when he was a boy.
“I was in the jungle with my father and brothers,” the old chief says. “Suddenly, we saw a white man with short black hair. My father whispered, ‘It’s a beast, it’ll hurt us.’ We tied him up and he shouted. We carried him to the village.

“All we found in his bag was a single book. There was no gun. Then my father said, ‘He can’t do us any harm.’ We fed him. He got his strength back. We gave him some rice for the road and seven bells to pay for food along the way. He wanted to cook the rice in them. We explained that he shouldn’t do that.

“We escorted him to the border of our land and he vanished into the jungle, in the direction of India. We saved his life, and he was very grateful to us.”

Many more incidents of this kind occurred during World War II in the Patkai Hills on the border between Burma and India, inhabited to this day by the Naga people. One of the most extraordinary but little known campaigns of the war was conducted in the air over that territory. Burma was being fought over by the Allied powers and the Japanese, who had rapidly moved northward after taking Rangoon, pushing the British out to India.

Finally the counterattack went ahead, and the sky was cut across by British and American planes. The pilots performed incredible feats, landing on swampy ground in the middle of the jungle or daring to fly “the Hump,” one of the most dangerous flight paths over the Burmese Himalayas to China. Many of them crashed into the mountains. Wreckage is still lying in remote corners of the jungle, where Naga hunters sometimes find it. I heard they have  even come across pilots’ skeletons, still in the cockpit.

If the Japanese had crossed the Naga Hills and conquered India, and if the Germans hadn’t been defeated at Stalingrad, Asia would have been taken over by the Axis powers. But thanks to men like the pilot who was saved by the Naga boy and his father, Burma was liberated from Japanese invaders.

Who was the pilot? Did he survive? What book was he reading? I’m still looking for him.

Search Through Nagaland
I had never seen such a wild place, neither in Africa nor in the Amazon, before traveling to the Patkai Hills, which are hundreds of kilometers of dense, majestic jungle that climb skyward up steep slopes. Here and there in the forest shadow hide Naga villages, lost in time.

I was traveling from Myitkyina, the state capital of Kachin State, with a government guide and permits that included a precise plan of my route. In the Kachin town of Shinbwayang, we rented off-road motorbikes and set off on a crazy ride across the mountains, driving along the legendary Ledo Road in a quest to find one of the last of the living Naga chief headhunters.

This road tells a story of human madness. When the Japanese took Rangoon, the only source of supplies for the Allies in China was India, but there were two mountain ranges, the Burmese Himalayas and the Patkai Hills, standing in the way. People died like flies while building the road, as it spans an area that is highly malarial. By the time they finished, the war was over, and today the steel bridges still hang undisturbed over winding rivers.

The road is now so overgrown with plants that it is essentially a narrow mule path winding across the lofty mountains. Only a few drivers from Shinbwayang are prepared to take on this sort of challenge. People hire them to transport goods all the way to the Indian border at the Pangsau Pass, which is where I was heading.

Traveling with my guide, I was unsure what I would find. We asked people where we could find an old Naga shaman, since many old shamans used to be chief headhunters. I lost hope after someone in a village told me the last shaman from Pangsau died two years ago.

In every place we stopped, the villagers appeared to have given up their traditional costumes.

Nobody wore loinclothes with traditional bells. But their huts appeared to have hardly changed over the years, with one exception: These days, there are no longer small human skulls hanging on the outer walls.

Naga chief headhunters were legendary figures, inspiring terror among neighbouring tribes, travelers, missionaries and soldiers. My guide, a delegate of the tourism ministry, said the Naga stopped cutting off heads in the 1960s, when the military regime took control of their territory and made headhunting punishable by law. Christian missionaries had earlier campaigned against the practice.

However, I heard another version of the story as well. According to Shan people from nearby Hukawng Valley who venture into Naga territory in search of wild elephants, which they domesticate, headhunting is alive and well. “If you don’t warn them and you take away an elephant without their consent, they’ll cut off your head,” one Shan person warned.

From Naymung, in Sagaing Division, my guide and I set off westward along a new dirt road, which led to the town of Lahe. The government built the road two years ago, and it still isn’t ready to use: In many places, it’s like a mountain track. But thanks to its presence, new technology and western culture are rapidly infiltrating the hill tribes. Corporations and armed groups have their eyes on the valuable timber and natural resources here, and the government faces a major task of protecting this wildlife reserve and the dying local cultures.

Eventually, my guide and I reached another village, Cheme Khuk. My permits did not allow me to travel there officially, but I managed to convince some local authorities to let me visit. Nevertheless, they sent police officers on motorbikes to follow me.

The village, on a valley at the foot of a steep hill, looked utopian. Rows of huts were surrounded by waves of greenery. Suddenly, however, a disturbance broke the peace.

“Look over there, a naked man!” my guide yelled. “He saw us and ran into that hut.”

Separately, we saw a group of people coming toward us, walking single file in a line. They wore caps decorated with animal horns and they carried weapons. I was dumbstruck, as they stood there in front of us without saying a word or cracking a smile. They all had lips as black as coal from a root they chewed nonstop as a stimulant—quite distinct from the betel nut that is so popular elsewhere in Burma.

“Man, you’ve got incredible luck!” my guide told me. Much to my surprise, one of the men in line was an old Naga chief headhunter. He had traveled here with elders from a village deep inside the jungle, five days away on foot. The half-naked man who had run into the hut was the oldest Naga of them all.

“They came here to visit their sons and families. They’re spending a few weeks here and then going back again,” my guide said.

That evening we met for a communal supper at the home of the village’s Naga pastor. We sat around a bonfire, eating chicken and rice spiced with chilli while drinking green tea. The headhunter said he had not seen a foreigner since helping to rescue the pilot as a boy, though he had later visited a village where he saw foreigners on television.

Telling his story, he wore a tiger skin cap adorned with bird feathers and deer antlers. His nephew had given him the tiger skin. The world’s biggest so-called tiger conservation area, the Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve, sits in Naga territory.

“Today there are fewer and fewer of them. The Lisu tribes hunt them for trade,” the headhunter told me, referring to another ethnic group.

“The Naga feel a spiritual tie with the tiger,” he added. ‘They believe tigers understand human speech. In each village there is someone with a tiger’s soul. Killing a tiger means his death, too.”
But if a particular tiger is attacking people or cattle, the Naga decide to hunt, often at night. After establishing its position, I was told, a large group of villagers and hunters encircle the animal, usually trapping it near a stream where they had earlier set a cage-like trap.

As they tighten the circle, getting closer and closer, the tiger may attempt to seek refuge in the cage, and when he does one of the most skilled hunters attacks. Spears were used in the old days, but guns are more common today. The man who kills the tiger is rewarded with half its jaw, while the other half goes to the owner of the cow that had been eaten by the tiger before its death.

The chief headhunter was also wearing bands of ivory drawn tight over his muscles. In the past, he said, the Naga also hunted elephants with heated spears. But only the elders ate the elephant and tiger meat. “The Naga never hunt for money, or for no reason,” he said.

When I finally built up the courage to ask about hunting human heads, his response made my cheeks flush.

“We fought most of our battles with the Kachin, who occupied our land,” he said. “To this day, there are heaps of boulders in the jungle where the biggest battle took place. We cut off as many heads as there are rocks.”

They set ambushes, he said. “We took knives and machetes into battle, and brought the cut-off heads back to the village. Then there was a big celebration.

“In one cauldron we boiled the human heads, and in another an ox for the feast. We hung the boiled, dried-out heads above the doors and on the walls of our houses. A captured head brought a Naga glory and respect.”

As we left the village at dawn, I asked one of the other Naga men what had become of all those heads from so many villages. Had they been buried?

“They started taking them away and throwing them into the jungle,” he said.

One day, perhaps somebody will come upon them.

Please contact the writer if you have information about the fate of the soldier in the headhunter’s story. This article was translated from Polish to English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
09 June 2014

A Day’s Journey To Explore The Unexplored

By Oken Jeet Sandham

It’s always adventurous to explore the new areas, locations, mountains, lakes, caves, trees and other historical objects. From time to time, scientists, enthusiastic and curious people used to venture out to areas unseen and unexplored. In Nagaland also, there are many areas which still remain unknown.

Local vendors selling local fruits and vegetables at Mao bazaar
Most of these areas are highly potential for making tourist destinations if they are properly developed with basic infrastructures. Rural tourism can really be developed and that will give economic and social benefits to the rural people. This is also one development that will discourage the exodus of rural people to the urban areas searching for their livelihood.

With this idea in mind, Speaker of Nagaland Legislative Assembly Chotisuh Sazo organized a whole day survey on May 31 with a team that included tour operators, officials and media persons to many sites which are highly potential for the development and promotion of tourism.

After briefing all of us by the Speaker, the team under his stewardship left Kohima at about 8:00 AM for a day’s trip to survey many sites highly prospective for the development of tourist circuits. The route is Kohima-Mao Gate-Makhel-Khezhakeno- Pfutsero- Phesachodou- Thepuzu- Chesezu-Chozuba-Kohima. It is like a one-day tour package.

We reached Mao Gate, Manipur at about 9:00 AM and had early lunch there. Generally, travelers stop and have food, besides buying local fresh fruits and vegetables here. Hundreds of passenger vehicles ply on this NH 39 daily and have stopover at this bazaar. Every tourist passing through this historic bazaar can visit the Mao Village which also preserves 2nd World War wreckages. Foreign goods are also sold here at relatively cheaper rates. Travelers can enjoy shopping here.

Then we left for the Makhel Village. It is about 10-minute drive from Mao Gate. The Village bears the testimony of the Nagas. The Makhel Village holds a central place in Naga tradition in connection with a belief that the Nagas at one point of time settled here and later dispersed to their present areas of habitation. The village of Makhel and the surrounding areas have several historical as well as mythological monuments and relics that are of interest to ethnographers, historians and cultural anthropologists. Monolith written about the significance of the Nagas is still preserved at this village.

Some village elders narrated us the importance the village.

After spending about 40 minutes at the Makhel Village, we proceeded to Chida Lake which lies at the periphery of Khazhakenoma Village under Phek district. The Lake can have boating facilities and variety of fishes which can give attraction to tourists. You can move around the scenic green hilltops which surround the Lake. Form the hilltops; you can see the beautiful Tungjoy Village of Manipur. In fact, the areas are pristine sceneries which will have vast tourist fascination.

We had light refreshment at the hilltop overlooking the Tungjoy Village before proceeding to Khezhakenoma Village.

On the way to Khezhakenoma Village, you will find a wayside Medicinal Plant Conservation Area where herbal nursery of locally available medical plants is maintained. The locally found Naga ginseng and other medicinal herbs are grown in the place. Many of us were thrilled seeing at the way medicinal plants were grown in this place, more so of the Naga ginseng plants. These unique herbal medicinal plants will give a charm blend to the tourists. The tourists can also get treated if they so desired.

While going to Khezhakenoma Village, you will come across Zuketsa junction. There is a monolith erected which had inscription written of a friendship treaty between the Phesachodouma and Khuzha Netho Ketshu. It said a stone got split into two. One erected at this Zuketsa Junction while the other at Phesachodou village with the same inscriptions of the friendship treaty written.

At Khezhakenoma Village, historical objects are still preserved. The Speaker was kind enough narrating the significance of the Village. C Kemvu Koza, Village Council Chairman, also shared of the Village’s history. Visitors will never return without knowing the story of this village.

After spending about an hour at Khezhakenoma Village, we set out for the next destination towards Pfutsero Town. Pfutsero Town is the commercial hub in the Phek district. We inspected the Mini Tourist Lodge maintained by the Pfuteromi Women Welfare Society. The double-bedded room is charged at Rs 700 while twin-bedded at Rs 500. They are bathroom-toilet attached and reasonably cleaner and cheaper. Sazo also personally checked all the rooms, dining and conference halls and the records of visitors.

Pfutsero headquarters has two Tourist Lodges and a few hotels. And accommodations for the tourists should not be the problem. The town also has a Baptist Theological College and also Government College. Churches of various denominations add to the beauty of the town. From the Mini Tourist Lodge you can not only see the complete town but also beautiful pristine peripheries of the magnificent town.

From here, we proceeded to Pfutsero’s Glory Peak. From this Glory Peak, you can see the birth’s eye view of Pfutsero Town. Picnics, workshops, meetings etc. can be organized in this place. This place can also be one of the tourist circuits as they can see the town, far off Chakhesang villages and even Kohima and Manipur.

Speaker was narrating every nook and corner of Pfutsero Town to us and the tour operators while having our 2nd light lunch here. Sometimes, we joked with him that “your head is the dictionary of Chakhesang areas.” Although he is Speaker of the Nagaland Assembly, he acted like a tour guide to all of us. In fact before setting out for the trip, he briefed all of us at his official residence saying that, “Today, I will be your tour guide and not as Speaker of Nagaland Assembly.” We spent about one-and-half hours here.

Then we again proceeded towards Phesachodou village. The Speaker is from this village. His village has cultural significance and that is widely known to outsiders. The villagers can present variety of traditional dances and songs to the visitors at the drop of a hat. It is a cultural hub itself. This could be one of the important tourist destinations.

On the way to Chesezu Village, one can see K-Basa Village below the highway. This village has been declared as “Green Village” with all village house roofs painted green under the initiative of Sazo in 2010 when he was Parliamentary Secretary for Social Welfare.

And before reaching Chesezu Village, we had one stopover at Thepuzu hilltop. It was leveled purposely to construct a new village church there.

From this hilltop, you can see a very steep mountain peak called Curhanyi from where it said the Naga army shot an Indian army chopper that was carrying a GOC. He was grievously injured. In retaliation, the Indian army started herding the village male folks but the GOC ordered not to harass them.

The last and the most important one come here. That is Chesezu Village where one of the historical significances took place during the infamous 2nd World War. The leader of the Indian National Army (INA), Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, came to this village and lived here. The villagers extended material helps to Netaji and his INA troops during their stay in the village. In memory of him, a Committee constituted started constructing a Memorial Center of him. A huge statue of Netaji carved out of stone in sitting position yet to be given a final touch is also here. Near the statue, there is a spring well from where Netaji used to fetch water for his personal use. All these important places including the spring well are still well preserved. Just one km away from the statue, a guest house with amphitheater in the name of Netaji Memorial Center is about to be completed. This will be one of the important tourist destinations once it is dedicated.

So the survey of the tour mapping is unique in the sense that “one-day complete tour package” can be organized - Kohima to Mao Gate to Makhel to Chida Lake to Medicinal Plant Conservation Area to Khezhakenoma Village to Pfutsero and visit Glory Peak at Pfutsero and from there have a birth’s eye view of the town (Pfutsero). Then proceed to Chesezu Village to have a final look at the INA Chief Netaji Shubas Chandra Bose Memorial Center. On the way to Chesezu, one can still enjoy looking at the green village of K-Basa Village and also visit Thepuzu maintain peak from where one can see a very steep and historic mountain peak called Curhanyi from where the Naga army shot an Indian army chopper that was carrying a GOC who suffered grievous injury.

In fact, ecotourism has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry, growing by 10-15% worldwide. One definition of ecotourism is “the practice of low-impact, educational, ecologically and culturally sensitive travel that benefits local communities and host countries.”

Rural tourism can thrive as we can showcase our rural life, art, culture and heritage at rural locations and in villages, which have core competence in art and craft, handloom, and textiles as also as asset base in the natural environment. The rural tourism will also give economic dividends to local communities so also socially. By developing rural tourism, there will be economic development in the villages and thereby preventing the exodus of rural people to the urban areas.

Source: Asian Tribune
06 June 2014

Nagaland is Rich in Gold, Says Geologist

"There's gold in them thar hills" was a promotional campaign that ran in Georgia in the US for almost a century from the 1830s and this could well apply to the Naga Hills straddling India and Myanmar, which are a promising place to prospect for the yellow metal, according to a geologist who has worked extensively there.

The discovery that can potentially put Nagaland on the gold map has been reported by Naresh Ghose, a retired geology professor of Patna University in the journal Current Science. His conclusion has emerged from an intensive study of rocks called "ophiolites" found in that region.

Ophiolites are slices of what were once the ocean floor but were thrust on to the continental crust more than 65 million years ago by the action of what geologists call plate tectonics, a mechanism that gave rise to the Himalayas.

The hill ranges of Nagaland and Manipur bordering Myanmar are one such place on earth where an ancient oceanic crust had emerged on the land as a result of collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate.

The Naga Hills Ophiolite (NHO), as this region is called, consists of a variety of sedimentary rocks. Though the NHO was discovered in the 1970s its potential as a source of minerals was not realised till the 1980s when Ghose launched the study.

According to Ghose, the inaccessible nature of the terrain and lack of infrastructure are among the major constraints for undertaking a systematic study and exploitation of the NHO. Ghose says his preliminary study has brought to light the occurrence of gold in NHO in the native as well as in alloy form.

Ghose's study dealt with rocks exposed as ophiolite at the northern and eastern margin of India along the suture zone where India and Eurasia collided to form the Himalayan mountain range. About 1,200 thin sections of rocks collected from across the NHO by his students were analyzed using instruments at the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in Bangalore and were found to contain grains of both native gold and gold-silver alloy, the report said.

Gold mineralization in layered sections of Ophiolites "opens a new avenue for searching for primary gold in NHO," Ghose told IANS.

According to the report, gold in pure form and also as gold-silver alloy, is found to occur near Sutsu, a village in Phek district about 60 kilometres from Nagaland capital Kohima. Small, detached lenses or larger bodies of "gabbros" (igneous rocks) are encountered between Tizu River gorge and Lacham Lake in the central part of ophiolite belt. The largest body of ophiolite - three km in length, 2.5 km in width and 300 metres thick - is present east of Moki, the report said.

Ghose said that sediments in the northern and central parts of the ophiolite belt are favourable sites for exploration and prospecting of noble metals. Similarly, a search for placer deposits in the Tizu River and its tributaries flowing across the northern part of the ophiolite belt "is also favoured as an alternative prospect of secondary gold".

According to GSI, India now produces gold from Hutti, Uti and Hirabuddni mines in Karnataka and as by product from sulphide deposits of Khetri in Rajasthan and Mosabani, Singhbhum and Kundrekocha in Jharkhand. The Puga geothermal system is a "hot spring type" epithermal gold deposit in the making in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ghose said that the ophiolitic rocks of mantle and oceanic crust parentage at the continental plate margin in northeast India "have vast potential for intensive research and economic growth".

However, the extent of gold reserves in Nagaland cannot be predicted on the basis of his preliminary study. "It calls for a more detailed geophysical and geochemical studies," Ghosh added.

IANS (K.S. Jayaraman can be contacted at
05 June 2014

Nagaland 'Green Village' Turns Tables On Hunters

Conservation efforts at a remote community in Nagaland state hailed as a model for protecting the environment.

Conservationists say the Khonoma model can be replicated in the rest of India [Amarjyoti Borah/Al Jazeera]

Khonoma, Nagaland - An idyllic "green village" in northeast India is being hailed as a model of conservation after an innovative project to protect wildlife began to lure tourists to the area.
India's government is now promoting Khonoma in the remote state of Nagaland as a successful example of what can be done by a small community to tackle hunting and logging and safeguard the environment.

The spirit of conservation has penetrated so deeply among villagers that local youths are signing up to be "wildlife wardens" in the community, 20km from Nagaland's capital, Kohima.

"The whole process has brought about a revolution here, and everyone has started to look at things through the eyes of a conservationist," said Kevichulie Meyase, a member of the Khonoma Tourism Development Board.

In 1998, villagers formed the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS) extending across a hilly terrain of 70sq km.

The whole process has brought about a revolution here, and everyone has started to look at things through the eyes of a conservationist.
- Kevichulie Meyase, Khonoma Tourism Development Board
The aim was to protect local wildlife including the endangered Blyth's Tragopan, a pheasant that inhabits wooded areas, and the village established strict rules banning hunting and logging.

"If anyone is found coming to hunt in the sanctuary he is fined 3,000 rupees ($50) as a punishment," said Mhiesizokho Zinyu, a conservationist associated with the KNCTS.

In an effort to ensure the bans were strictly enforced, the regulations stipulated that offenders' families would also face the prospect of collective fines.

"All this meant that the villagers complied with the council's strictures," said Pankaj Gogoi, a researcher associated with the non-profit organisation Destination North East, who has worked in the area.

The success of the initiative is striking given that awareness about conservation was almost completely absent in the village until the early 1990s.

The Gujarat-based non-profit Centre for Environment Education (CEE) played a pivotal role in raising local consciousness about the importance of conservation, and this was reinforced by the leading role played by Khonoma's village council.

Monkey feast
"I still remember when we had visited the village for the first time in 1994, the residents there threw a lavish feast for us - we were served monkeys and endangered deer meat," said Abdesh Gangwar of CEE.

Gangwar said he is wonderstruck when he sees the conservation efforts now embraced by Khonoma's residents.

An woman walks down a street in Khonoma village [Reuters]
Soon after establishing the new initiative, the villagers launched a tourism programme to generate income lost as a result of the prohibition on hunting and logging.

In 2003, they formed the Khonoma Tourism Development Board, which now gives local youths and women opportunities to work as tour guides, operators and interpreters.

"This was done so that the livelihood of all those people who were dependent on logging of trees and hunting will not be affected, and it worked out very well," said Meyase. "The sanctuary is ideal for trekking and research work, and it has a variety of ecosystems ranging from semi-evergreen forest to savannah grasslands."

Riding on the sanctuary's success, the government adopted Khonoma as a "green village" and awarded it 30 million rupees ($500,000) to develop infrastructure.

"The money was used to construct footpaths, toilets, roads within the village, solar lights, viewpoints, and for the purchase of trekking equipment," Meyase said.

In tune with their mission of conservation, the roofs of all homes were painted green so everyone knows it as the "green village".

The villagers' efforts have been lauded by Nagaland's state government, and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio has said Khonoma offers the world lessons about what people can achieve while protecting nature.

It has been a great success and can also become a role model for other states and communities as well.

- Firoz Ahmed, Aaranyak conservation group
Rich dividends
The villagers' efforts are paying rich dividends and the sanctuary has turned into a hotspot for tourists - yielding clear economic benefits.

Visitors who want to experience rural life can pay for "home-stays" - accommodation in a village household costing about $17 a night, enabling them to eat local food and enjoy the natural surroundings.

The tourism board said at least 1,000 tourists - both domestic and foreign - now visit the village annually.

"Payments are made to guides, to performers at cultural programmes, and to individual families who run the home-stays," said Meyase. "This has improved the economic conditions of several households."

Conservationists working in the region say the model established by Khonoma can now be replicated in other parts of India - and beyond.

"It has been a great success and can also become a role model for other states and communities as well," said Firoz Ahmed of Aaranyak, an environmental group.

Al Jazeera
28 May 2014

Mizo Like Truce Plan Mulled For Nagaland

By Sekhar Datta

Isak Chishi Swu

Agartala, May 28 : Nagaland is likely to go the Mizoram way, 17 years after peace talks began with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) in 1997.
As part of the formula, NSCN (Isak-Muivah) chairman Isak Chishi Swu — and not general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah — will become the chief minister of Nagaland, taking along some of his close followers in the council of ministers, and will face fresh elections within six months.
A senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) official said the proposal by central interlocutors was being fine-tuned after which it would be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh.
“All this is in an embryonic stage and the formula will have to be approved by the new political dispensation in which Neiphiu Rio will play an important role,” he added.
Rio, who resigned as the chief minister of Nagaland in the second year of his third term in office, has already been elected to the Lok Sabha. He is likely to be included in the Union council of ministers in the next reshuffle of the NDA government. It is believed that his chosen successor T.R. Zeliang will resign to pave the way for assumption of power by the NSCN (I-M) leaders.
The official said Rio, an influential Angami Naga leader, had all along been a votary of peaceful settlement to Nagaland’s insurgency problem. He had been upset with former chief minister S.C. Jamir’s attempts at scuttling the peace talks and had also resigned from the Congress in 2002. He floated the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and with other regional parties and the BJP, formed the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland, which won Assembly elections thrice in 2003, 2008 and 2013. Before the 2013 Assembly elections, Rio had said all 60 members of the Nagaland Assembly had offered to quit to pave the way for a settlement.
“He resigned as chief minister and contested the Lok Sabha polls only to help the process of peace,” the official said.
He said the tripartite Mizoram Peace Accord was signed by then Union home secretary R.D. Pradhan, late Mizo National Front (MNF) leader Laldenga and then Mizoram chief secretary Lalkhama on June 30, 1986. Following the accord and as per a tacit understanding, Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla, who headed a Congress government, resigned, paving the way for assumption of power by Laldenga and his colleagues, who were required to face Assembly polls within six months. Laldenga won the Assembly polls held in February 1987. That had put an end to the two-decade-old insurgency in Mizoram and peace still prevails in the state.
“The Mizoram Peace Accord formula is now being thought of as the most effective solution, specially in view of NSCN bosses Swu and Muivah’s adamant stand on Nagalim, which will set a larger part of the Northeast, specially Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, on fire. They are being persuaded to scale down their demand for Nagalim (greater Nagaland) by incorporating the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh,” the official said.
He pointed out that making Swu the chief minister would be easy because he belongs to Sema group, a mainstream Naga clan predominant in Zunheboto district of Nagaland. Besides, Swu had led more than 300 Naga nationalist guerrillas on a hardy trek to Chin as “political officer” in 1969 with commander Mou Angami.
“Muivah has a similar halo as he had led the first large group of Naga guerrillas as political officer along with commander Thino Selie to China in 1966. He was accorded the status of ambassador of a friendly country by the government of China,” the official said. But, he pointed out, Muivah hails from the peripheral Tangkhul Naga community of Manipur and his elevation to the post of chief minister in Nagaland might not be acceptable to all.
However, the main worry of the government interlocutors and the NSCN top brass is keeping the dissident NSCN factions, led by S.S. Khaplang and Khole-Kitovi, on board before making a final announcement and a serious effort is continuing in this direction.
12 May 2014

Zeliang Tipped To Be Next Nagaland CM

Kohima, May 12 : T.R. Zeliang, Nagaland minister for planning and coordination, is likely to become the chief minister, with more NPF legislators joining his bandwagon.

Zeliang has been camping at Kaziranga National Park in Assam for the last four days with 22 NPF legislators supporting him lodged at the Iora resort.

“More MLAs are expected to join Zeliang’s camp,” said a source close to the minister. He said eight Independent MLAs have also decided to extend support.

He said the NCP, which has four members in the 60-member House, was likely to extend support to Zeliang. “We are expecting the NCP, the BJP and the JD (U) to extend support to our minister,” the source said. So far, Zeliang has the support of 27 NPF legislators, including senior cabinet ministers like Khuzoluzo Nienu and Keyanielie Peseyie.

Sources said the new chief minister could undertake a minor reshuffle in his cabinet and did not rule out axing a few ministers and parliamentary secretaries. But Zeliang’s aide said the NPF will maintain status quo, whoever becomes the next chief minister.

Noke Wangnao, who is another contender for the top post, criticised the rival camp for politicking from the jungles in Assam.

NPF president Shur-hozelie Leizietsu said the party would intervene if legislators failed to find a consensus candidate for the chief minister’s post. The party has formed a core committee consisting of several senior leaders for the smooth transition of power.

The committee has been meeting both the camps to solve their differences, while chief minister Neiphiu Rio has convened a meeting of NPF legislators tomorrow.
28 March 2014

Can't promise on Naga settlement: Rahul Gandhi

By Xavier Rutsa

KOHIMA: Speaking on the Indo-Naga peace process at a rally in Kohima on Thursday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said, unlike Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, he did not want to promise something that he could not fulfill.

"I am not like your chief minister. I do not like to make promises in the air," he added.

Rahul came to Kohima to campaign for K V Pusa, Congress's candidate for Nagaland's lone Lok Sabha seat.

Taking a potshot at Rio for having claimed that he would bring about a solution to the Naga political problem within three months during the 2003 assembly election in the state, Rahul said, "Unlike your CM, I cannot promise to bring about a political settlement within three months after returning to power."

He added, "The UPA government has taken a bold decision by inviting NSCN for talks."

However, Rahul also added, "I promise that I will do all that I can to bring about an early resolution of this problem. I will help the state of Nagaland, but I cannot promise to solve the problem in exactly three months."

"I am trying to bring peace and harmony to the state," Rahul said to a roaring crowd who clapped energetically after every statement he made.

Addressing the problem of communication in the region, Rahul said connectivity was one of the biggest problems the state faced time and again. If the Congress-led UPA returned to power, the government at the Centre would focus on improving roads and infrastructure development for better rail and air connectivity, he said.

The party was committed to creating 100 million jobs in the country in the next five years, Rahul added.

He said Nagaland was one of the few states in India that was actually moving backwards.

"Normally, a car has four gears - first, second, third and fourth gear. But the Nagaland government has put the state into reverse gear. This is definitely not good for the people of Nagaland," he added.

Instead of making empty promises, the CM should ensure that Nagaland progressed at top speed, he said, adding that the growth rate of Nagaland had slumped from 8.3 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

Rahul told the gathering that in the last 17 months, the Centre had paid Rs 300 crore for building roads in Nagaland, but not a single road had been constructed in the state till date.

"Now the DAN government wants to revise the estimated rate by two-and-half times, thereby not only driving the car in the reverse gear but also failing to build a road in the first place," he pointed out.

On his first visit to the state, Rahul said he was happy to have come to Nagaland and seen its beautiful people. The attire they wear signified the glorious aspects of Naga history, he said, adding that he respected the culture and tradition of the Nagas.

"To make our country really great, we first need to respect each other's culture and I believe in your history and culture," Rahul added.

He mentioned that some Naga students, who had met him in Delhi, had told him that 70,000 youths were unemployed in Nagaland.

He then said Nido Tania was killed by a small group of people who did not understand and respect the culture of the northeast and stated that the ideology of Congress was to spread love, peace and brotherhood. He added that people from the northeast had the right to feel safe and comfortable whenever they went. Nagas and other northeasterners should not feel alienated and should be able to live fearlessly in any part of the country, Rahul added.

He also announced that he would be the "special representative" of the region's people in Delhi and asked them to contact him anytime as his door would always be kept open for them.
14 March 2014

Kohima gets ready for 70th anniversary of 1944 war

GUWAHATI: April 4, 1944, is etched in the history as a day when Japanese advances into India was stopped in Kohima where one of the fierce battles of the World War II was fought.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of this momentous event and the war, vice-chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French will be visiting the northeast.

The vice- chairman will be visiting the Kohima War Cemetery along with Barry Murphy, director of Africa and Asia Pacific Area (AAPA) at CWGC, on April 4. The event is dedicated to all those soldiers who gave up their lives in stopping the advancing Japanese forces. As of now, the cemetery comprises 1420 graves. The site also has a cremation memorial in memory of 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who were cremated as per their religion.

"It has been confirmed that both the dignitaries will be visiting Kohima to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the historic event. It will be a solemn and yet memorable event. The vice-chairman will inaugurate an information panel to be set up at the cemetery. The guests will be visiting only Kohima," said Salew Pfotte, regional manager (northeast India), CWGC.

Spring of 1944 is marked for a special historical event associated with Manipur where close to 200,000 allied and axis forces fought tooth and nail over control of the strategic potentialities that northeast offered to the colliding warring forces. The National Army Museum of the UK last year described the Battle of Kohima and Imphal as Britain's greatest battle.

The Imphal War Cemetery comprises 1465 known burials and 138 unknown burials. British, Canadian, Australian, African, Indian, Chinese, Burmese, New Zealander and South Rhodesian soldiers were buried at the cemetery. Manipur Tourism Forum and Second World War Imphal Campaign Foundation will be organizing an event commemorating the battle that will commence from March and continue till June. The CWGC has been invited to attend the event. Special invitations have been sent to the Australian, Canadian, American, British, New Zealend, Nepal and Japan embassies as well.
10 March 2014

Dimapur Police Busts Call Girl Racket

Dimapur, Mar 10 : Dimapur police busted a call girl racket and apprehended three persons in connection with the illicit trade being run in Dimapur and in bordering Lahorijan area of Assam.

The three accused have been arrested for their involvement in the illegal flesh trade. Police sources said the three accused have been dealing with call girls from Dimapur to satisfy customers in nearby Lahorijan area in Assam.

The three arrested have been identified as Hari Kumar Debbarma alias Rahul, 27, son of Usha Ranjan Debbarma of Doyal Sanghpara village under Sonamura district in Tripura and presently residing near Sunday Bazaar in Burma Camp Colony, Suken Das, 36, son of Narayan Das of Longka village under Karimganj district in Assam and presently residing at Signal Bosti, Dimapur and Anil Baishya, 35, son of Makan Baishya of Nagaon district in Assam and permanently residing at Lahorijan near Sunday market.

Two of the traffickers, Hari Kumar and Suken Das, were arrested from Dimapur on March 3 along with a group of Naga girls considered to be victims of sex trafficking while their accomplice Anil Baishya was caught the next day by a team of Dimapur police.

All the three accused have confessed to their crimes, police sources said. It was learnt that the three traffickers were involved in the illicit business for almost a year.

According to police, the three arrested pimps started as contact persons of girls from Dimapur, but later they set up their own network as autonomous pimps after building better contacts with call girls. The pimps used to take their share of money both from the clients and call girls.

The arrested pimps disclosed to police that the price varies from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 per customer, depending on the beauty and age of the call girl. The younger and more beautiful the girl is, higher the charge, they said. The customers are both from Assam and Nagaland.

The girls involved in the sex racket were said to be mostly Naga girls who run after easy money and comfortable lifestyle. Even some college going students were reportedly earning easy money by involving in the lucrative business.

It has also come to light that the business had not only been a night affair, but even a day hang-out affair in hotels and restaurants at Lahorijan and nearby areas on a daily basis.

The three arrested traffickers are now in Dimapur police custody.
04 March 2014

Economics of Pork in Nagaland: Garbage Scavenging Pigs imported

Seen here are pigs feeding on garbage in Nirvana Slum, Uttar Pradesh, one of the places from where pigs are supplied to Nagaland. A report has revealed how unfair trade practices and lack of hygiene mark the quality of Supply Pork in Nagaland.
Abokali Jimomi

Dimapur, Mar 4Not all consumers in Nagaland are aware of where most of the imported pork they eat comes from.

For the Nagas, pork is mandatory for any important occasion and for laborious physical work in the field.  “We work in groups especially during planting and harvesting, that way we exchange labour in each other’s farms… it would be shameful if I don’t provide pork when it is my turn to host the group; we usually buy Supply Pork,” explained a woman farmer.

An MBA graduate from Kohima said, “We always buy pork from butcher shops… I have not really thought about where it comes from.”

Tracing the origin of Supply Pork entering Nagaland took Naga veterinary doctor, Simon Ao, to villages and pig markets of Uttar Pradesh and markets bordering Dimapur.
His investigations reveal that in Uttar Pradesh, villagers rear pigs in their backyards with animals let loose for scavenging in the open. Owners with large number of pigs (15 to 40) herd their animals in groups in open fields for daily feeding. “Therefore, the production cost is conveniently reduced,” noted the report.

Usually, middlemen maximize such situations, so it is uncertain if villagers in UP are benefitting out of this. The report, for instance, shows that “Invoice of Consignment for Dimapur, Nagaland,” marked as originating from “Rajakiya Pasu Palan Samittee,” Bewar, Mainpuri, UP, has no Piggery Farm and “Kisan Pig Farm,” Bidhuna (Auraya, UP) does not exist.

This raises grave concerns if the government’s regulatory mechanisms are actively functioning to screen domestic food imports in ensuring fair trade practices in India and what roles are they playing to guarantee food safety for the public?

In UP, the feeding areas were found filthy and unhealthy with the villagers relieving themselves in the open and pigs feeding in the open. In photos available with Dr. Simon, pigs are seen scavenging in open fields and on garbage piles: roadsides of Naini, Nirvana Slum, garbage dumps in the city and villages; pigs seen everywhere, even rummaging through waste on the banks of the Yamuna.

Uttar Pradesh is one of the most populous States of India. NGO Safai Karmachari Andolan’s report to the Supreme Court published in a national daily in 2012 stated, “Uttar Pradesh had 3.26 lakh dry toilets which were cleaned by manual scavengers, which is more than 41% of the national aggregate. It also had the highest number of insanitary toilets (80,291) ‘serviced by animals’.”

Nagaland is on the receiving end of these scavenging animals, posing serious public health risks. We can see why their cost of production is low, gaining an undue price advantage at the expense of Naga public, who, if uninformed, and pushed to the margin with low spending capacity, will opt for lower rates of essential food items.
Naga farmers working on organized piggery businesses in Nagaland are challenged with high feed cost.  Local farmers use a combination of Maize, Wheat Barn, Oil Cake, Rice Polish, Dry Fish Powder, (most of which are not processed locally) green leaves and crops such as Colocassia, Casava and Sweet Potato as feed. In villages, the feed is usually maize, with greens collected from the forest.

Obviously then, the current method of raising pigs in Nagaland is much better than of those imported from Uttar Pradesh.
Infrastructure development and technological innovations for livestock rearing and farming still need to scale up in the State; output is low without economies of scale. It is rare to find Naga piggery units with more than 200 pigs.

According to Dr. Ao’s  report, many locals in order to avoid Supply Pork frequent neighbouring markets such as Delai Gate, Bokajan Bazar, Old Golaghat Road, Market Near Mariani, Assam (towards Mokokchung) and Halluadin, Assam, on the way to Tuli. These markets are generating high revenue from Naga customers. How can our immediate neighbours produce more than our local farmers? What is their cost of production and technological know-how?

We do not know, but it is necessary to research about pork in Nagaland focusing on health risks, types of diseases caused by contaminated pork, and market monopoly issues for consumers’ awareness.

source: Morung Express
11 December 2013

Hornbill Festival concludes

Miss Nagaland Benjongmenla Jamir lighting the bonfire at the Hornbill closing ceremony, Kisama.

Kohima, Dec 11
: The 10-day-long Hornbill Festival culminated at the Naga Heritage Village at Kisama, 12 km south of State Capital Kohima, with a grand finale today.

The biggest indigenous festival and the annual tourism promotional event of Nagaland government ended with 17 Naga tribes performing the ‘Unity Dance’ around a bonfire lit by Miss Nagaland Benjongmenla Jamir in the presence of a number of dignitaries. The tourists joined the cultural troupes in dancing to the tune of Naga drum beats around the bonfire.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that Nagaland has become a favoured destination to experience a culture closest to the nature. “This was proved by the increase in the number of visitors to the Hornbill Festival this year,” he stated.

Rio said, “The Hornbill Festival is the festival of festivals, because this is the coming together of all the tribes of the State at one place to showcase the cultural and traditional vibrancy of the Naga people.”

He said each of the Naga tribe celebrates its festivals in their respective district and the Hornbill Festival is the only place where all the tribes perform together and one can witness the vibrancy of Naga culture and tradition in one place.

He said that as on the eighth day of the festival this year, over 1.50 lakh visitors attended the festival.

“Over the years, we have improved and the number of visitors has also increased accordingly and I hope this will get bigger and better in the days to come,” he added.

Declaring the Hornbill Festival close, Nagaland Minister for Tourism EE Pangteang acknowledged the participation of cultural troupes and visitors for making the festival a grand success.

The Hornbill Festival, which coincides with the statehood golden jubilee celebrations, was officially launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on December 1.

Pic Source Nagaland Post
06 December 2013

Hornbill International Rock Contest Underway

Hornbill International Rock Contest (HNRC) 2013 presented by Airtel would kick-start Friday at Naga Solidarity Park, Kohima.

On day five, Alo Wanth, Making Merry and Parikrama enthralled the crowds. Altogether 27 bands are set to compete for the highest prize money from across the India and abroad.

The organizers have asked all participating bands to report at the Nag Solidarity Park by 10 a.m., December 6 for draw of lots/sequence followed by briefing from MTF project director G. Chishi.
The audition will take place on December 6, 7, 8 and 9 (declaration of the 9 finalist). During the event, band from the UK will also perform as special guest band.

The grand finale would be held on December, 10. The Hornbill International Rock Contest (HIRC) 2013 from December 6 to 10 is also part of the annual Hornbill Festival, the annual cultural extravaganza in Nagaland showcasing the rich Naga culture, organized by the state government’s Music Task Force (MTF), department of Youth Resources and Sports and the event is managed by XL.

Source: nagalandpost
02 December 2013

Hornbill Festival Gets Off To A Colourful Start

Kohima, Dec 2 : Ten-day Hornbill Festival – festival of festivals – got off to a vibrant opening ceremony at Naga Heritage village, Kisama here. The inaugural function witnessed various special items and presentation from various tribes and organizations.

Day one of Hornbill Festival also witnessed around 224 international tourists and 149 domestic tourists besides thousands of local visitors.

More visitors are expected to witness the North East Cultural Day on day two to be held at the Main Gallery.

In the evening, a concert “a tribute” to 50 years of statehood would be held where popular and audience pulling stars of state including Methaneilie Jiitakhrie, Zowe Madrigal and band from Delhi Mixed generation would perform at Solidarity Park at 5 p.m.

Rio opens exhibition cum competition

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio inaugurated the exhibition cum competition of flowers, fruits and vegetables December 1 at Hortiscape, Naga Heritage village, Kisama.

Rio congratulated the horticulture department for adding another success story through the exhibition cum competition of flowers, fruits and vegetables.

He said flowers symbolised good spirit and character and urged the department to set targets and produce for commercial purpose so that the state can earn revenue through export, stated a DIPR report.

Stalls have been set up by different associations, self help groups and floral companies from within and outside the state showcasing varieties of flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Prizes were given out for different categories in the flower section such as Orchid, Cactic and Succulents, Perennials, Bulbs and Tubers, Bonsai etc and in the fruits section prizes were given out in categories like Carrot/Raddish, Peas/Beans, Ginger, Naga Chilli, Mushroom etc.

Nagaland observes archive week

The 14th Annual Archive Week, organized by the department of art and culture, is being observed at the Heritage village Kisama.

To create awareness on the importance of archive treasures, the department has set up a stall to draw attention on the importance of archives as the state’s documentary heritage and to stress the role of archival institutions in restructuring future development.

According to a DIPR report, the documents displayed in the exhibition have been chosen from both official records and private papers.

The Nagaland State Archive is displaying some rare documents relating to attainment of Nagaland Statehood and other documents such as newspaper clippings from 1960-68, Gordon P Means collection, maps, rare books, private letters of some important Naga personalities etc.  A 10% discount is also offered on departmental publications.

Hornbill Art Festival

Hornbill Art Festival, sponsored by Nagaland government department of Art and Culture in collaboration with Rattle and Hum society & XL Nagaland, opened up exhibition-cum-sale of painting of photos at the WW-II museum site Naga Heritage village, Kisama.

Art and Culture department along with Dreamcather has setup a stall showcasing various types of paintings by Naga Artists. Photos are also being exhibited by some local photographers. Price of the paintings ranges from 2000 to as high as 3 lakhs. Painting demonstration and competition are also being held at the site.
22 November 2013

Centre, Naga Insurgents Begin Fresh Negotiations

Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. File Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar
Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. File Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

No prospect of breakthrough, but government optimistic, sources say

The Union government began a fresh round of negotiations with leaders of the largest Naga insurgent group on Thursday, hoping to hammer out a political settlement to the decades-old conflict ahead of Lok Sabha elections next year.
Former Petroleum Secretary and Nagaland Chief Secretary R.S. Pandey, the Union government’s interlocutor, met with the top leadership of the National Socialist Council of Nagland — Isak-Muviah, or NSCN-IM, represented by its chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah — the latest in a series of closed-door negotiations that have continued for more than fifteen years.
Neither side made statements after today’s talks, which are expected to continue for several days. Prior to leaving Kohima, Mr. Swu refused to speculate on the outcome of the negotiations. Mr. Muviah said that “we want a solution as soon as possible.”
The talks, have been shrouded in secrecy, but a senior government official told The Hindu, centred around a deal which would give Naga communities in both Nagaland and Manipur similar substantial rights across State lines — but without territorial concessions from Manipur on Naga-inhabited areas in the districts of Tamenlong, Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel.
“In essence,” the official said, “the best-case outcome would be a deal which created a institutional mechanism to give Naga communities across the region full recognition and rights, but without redrawing state boundaries.”
“There is no immediate prospect of a breakthrough, but the government is optimistic,” he added.

Pressure on NSCN factions

Pressure has been mounting on the NSCN-IM since early this year, which some experts believe could bring a deal within reach. Notably, there have been growing protests in Nagaland against the parallel taxation structure insurgents use to fund their operations. Thousands defied NSCN-IM calls to rally in Dimapur on November 1 under the banner of the Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation to protest against taxes imposed on underground organisations on salaries, businesses and contractors.
Former Indian Administrative Service officer and social activist K.K. Sema said the protests were organised “not to fight with any underground faction but to reason with them that there has to be the rule of law.”
“Take tax but through rules,” Mr. Sema said, calling for “one government, one tax.”
Formations like the NSCN-IM came under further pressure in May, when the Nagaland government was reported to be considering granting tribal status to the Mao Nagas — a legal decision that brings with opportunities for government employment and benefits. The Maos already have tribal status in Manipur.
However, the move encountered resistance from some Naga tribal groups within Nagaland—a development with direct repercussions for the NSCN-IM, whose leadership are made up of Tangkhul Nagas, whose lands are mainly in Manipur.
Though the State government later denied it was granting the Mao tribal status, the issue led to friction between the Naga Tribal Alliance, a newly-formed association of tribes within Nagaland, and the Naga Hoho, which claims to speak for all Nagas.
Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have passed resolutions in their assemblies that no territory will be given up for a Greater Nagland, and New Delhi fears it could stoke the ethnic-Meitei insurgency in Manipur.
Frequent clashes have taken place over the issue. In 2011, Mr. Muivah was forced to defer a visit to his ancestral village of Somdal in Manipur’s Ukhrul district, after it generated a standoff at the Mao Gate on the Nagaland-Manipur border.
19 November 2013

Pre-paid Power Meters To Come Up in Nagaland

Pre-paid power meters to come up in Nagaland

Kohima, Nov 19 :  In move towards overcoming the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses to the extent of 60 per cent faced by the state through power supply, the Department of Power, Nagaland would be introducing pre-paid power meters throughout the state in a phased manner.  The pilot project in the state would first be implemented in Dimapur district, said Parliamentary Secretary for Power, C Kipili Sangtam while inspecting the colonies where the pre-paid power meters were to be installed.

It is expected to be completed by the end of November this year.

Referring to the pilot project for implementation of pre-paid power meters, he pointed out that it was already implemented in other states and the department under phase-I was opening a new chapter and hoped it would help build discipline among people.

According to a handout issued by the state Power department, Nagaland is presently reeling under a heavy Aggregate Technical and Commercial loss to the extent of 60 per cent.

In order to bring about reforms in power sector and also reduce the AT&C losses, the state government has taken up the project to install pre-paid power meters to offset the huge losses.

It also revealed that 60 per cent of power allocated to Nagaland was consumed by Dimapur load centre but that the revenue collection in Dimapur was one of the lowest.