Neiphiu Riio speaking during the debate on the Governor’s address in Nagaland Assembly on Monday.

Dimapur: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday asserted that elections to the urban local bodies in the state will be conducted as per the March 9 resolution adopted at the consultative meeting with the civil society organisations in Kohima.

The meeting resolved that the elections to the civic bodies will be held according to the 74th amendment of the Constitution of India which provides for 33% reservation of seats for women.

Rio’s remark comes in the backdrop of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on Urban Local Bodies convening a joint consultative meeting with all apex tribal bodies and civil society organisations to discuss the “pending unsettled contentious issues” in regard to the elections in Dimapur on March 25.

Taking serious note of the March 9 resolution, JCC convenor Luola-o Usou and secretary W. Rainbow Ngullie, in a release, said the Naga apex civil society organisations had mandated and endorsed the JCC/Nagaland Tribes Action Committee by a resolution dated February 7, 2017, to voice the legitimate demands of the Nagas against the application of the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, in its present form.

The JCC argued that application of the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, in its present form will infringe the basic rights granted under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution which gave the Nagas special status and empowered them to interpret this constitutional provision in accordance with the Naga customs and traditions which reflect the basic interest and aspiration of the people.

In his remarks on the debate on the governor’s address in the Nagaland Assembly, Rio said steps have been taken up to conduct the civic body elections and that preparation of intensive electoral roll will be carried out.

He said for the elections, intensive updation of the electoral roll is being carried out and 29 towns were identified for the purpose.

Citing the example of Manipur which does not have problems with regard to taxation and reservation, he said the smaller towns can adopt the same rural town systems so that those towns can get Village Development Board funding and the other district headquarters that are willing to urbanize can take up urban local body funding and update the towns.

Rio said the state government has exhibited unity to form an opposition-less government when it came to the Naga political issue.

Regarding the inter-state boundary issues with Assam, Arunachal, Manipur, and also with Myanmar, he said the government is taking things in a positive manner through proper negotiations and talks.

On the issue of oil and natural gas exploration in the Assam-Nagaland border, Rio said the state will take steps to seek cooperation from the Centre and the Assam government and also share royalties.

Rio said the foothill road area stretching from Nagaland to Manipur border is considered a ‘rice bowl’ and rich in mineral deposits.

He added that the road’s construction has been delayed due to border issues and financial constraints.

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