75 years of Zunheboto township
Source: CMO Media Cell Nagaland *

Zunheboto, November 13 2017: Coinciding with Ahuna festival, the people of Zunheboto today celebrated the 75 years of Zunheboto township with great pomp and gaiety.

Addressing the mammoth gathering on the occasion at Public Ground this morning, Chief Minister TR Zeliang termed the day as a 'Red Letter Day' and extended warm greetings on behalf of the government of Nagaland.

From today, he said, Zunheboto which is known as the 'land of warriors' be changed and called as the 'land of peace and prosperity' .

"A spirited people, Sumi's are known for their courage, dash and boldness and Zunheboto has produced many well-known Naga leaders.

He urged the people to strengthen their resolve and look ahead to the future with renewed understanding and hope.

As Zunheboto town marches on to its next milestone of 100 years in another 25 years time, the Sumi people should be agents of transformation so that Zunheboto town will turn into a role model of a 21st century town with an enlightened citizenry."

75 years of Zunheboto township
75 years of Zunheboto township

"It is an occasion to rejoice and jubilate.

In the Christian tradition, Jubilee is a time to look back at the decades gone by; to remember God's faithfulness and give thanks to the Almighty; to forgive and forget past differences within individuals, families and clans and look ahead to the future." This is the time to look back and recall the sacrifices made by the founding fathers 75 years ago, he added.

The chief guest said, many might have dreamed to see this great day but left the earthly world.

"But those of you who are here today are the luckiest people" .

On Ahuna festival, he said, it is to invoke the Almighty's blessings for a good harvest and to render thanks to Him.

"The time of hard work and patience is rewarded by an abundant harvest for which the people make merry and enjoy the well-earned rest.

Like our forefathers, may we continue to nurture the soil of our land and practise hard work, honesty and integrity in our everyday life" .

Over the years, Zunheboto has grown steadily from a tiny hamlet to that of an ADC Sub-division in 1958 and subsequently a full-fledged district in December 1973, he said.

"Being forthright by nature, the Sumi's have a great capacity to mix freely with others.

Zunheboto is uniquely located in the heart of Nagaland, thus sharing traditional boundaries with other Naga tribes like Angamis, Aos, Chakhesangs, Changs, Lothas, Rengmas, Sangtams and Yimchungers.

Likewise, in the Western and Northern Sumi areas, they share common boundaries with Zeliangs, Kukis, Kacharis, Karbis, Pochury and Assamese except Konyak, Khiamniungan and Phom.

Such geographical proximity with different tribes has allowed the Sumi's a unique position in terms of inter-tribal relationship- building among communities, thereby being harbingers of creating harmonious co-existence over long periods of time.

"It is not out of place to mention here that of the 2000 Naga members of the World War-I Labour Corps, 1000 were Sumi volunteers or 50% comprised the Sumis alone.

I am sure this indomitable spirit of our Sumi brothers displayed in the last century will help propel them into the 21st century as well.

We can also attribute this bold spirit in the construction and completion of the Baptist Church in Zunheboto in 2017 which holds the distinction of being the biggest Baptist church in Asia" .

He said, "When we talk about the Naga National Movement, it was our Sumi brothers who took the lead and were in the forefront from the very start of the movement till today.

Consequently the sacrifices made by them for the Naga cause is undeniable and legendary.

What we need today is the cooperation and support of each and every Naga tribe for bringing about a permanent peace through an inclusive, honourable and acceptable resolution of the Naga political problem." "I, therefore, appeal to our Sumi brothers to come forward and extend whole hearted support to our collective efforts towards resolving the Naga issue.

Why I say this is because the GOI and NSCN (IM) have been in talks for a fairly long time and today the 6 NNPGs have also entered into dialogue with the Govt.of India.

This is, therefore, considered the most opportune time for us Nagas and the Govt.of India to resolve the over 6 decades old Naga political issue once and for all" .

"No matter the many challenges we face as a multi-tribal society, it is my earnest appeal to all Nagas to view the Naga issue with a sense of oneness and togetherness.

We have suffered together and we shall triumph together.

The fact that different factions and armed groups have come together seeking solution to the Naga political issue is indeed a very encouraging move.

I urge the civil societies to play a catalytic role in bringing the different political groups together.

Let us remember that we have waited 20 long years of the Peace Process and another 2 years after signing of the Framework Agreement.

And going by the latest trends and more so when the attitude of our Hon'ble Prime Minister and the Govt.of India is positive and forthcoming, we are very optimistic that an inclusive, honourable and acceptable resolution to our long standing political issue is round the corner.

This is an opportunity Nagas cannot afford to miss.

"In our minds, the word "Naga" covers all the Nagas in India and across international boundaries.

Therefore, the civil societies should facilitate the coming together of the different political groups and join in our common pursuit for permanent peace.

We also need to remember that we are enjoying relative peace during the cease-fire period.

If, however it stands abrogated in future for one reason or the other, it is the innocent public who will be the victims.

Therefore, my serious in bringing solution at the earliest" .

"It is a fact that the deplorable conditions of the roads are being acutely felt by all.

People have suffered and continue to suffer due to bad roads.

Here I wish to briefly touch on our resource position which I feel the public should know.

Due to our state's poor resource base, we are not in a position to provide funds for developmental purpose from our normal budget unless Govt.of India comes to our aid.

As we are all aware, the main reason for shortage of funds is due to the payment of salaries to the huge population of Govt.employees including pensions" .

"Under these unfavourable circumstances, I must share our vision for road development in our State.

The Govt.of India has, in principle, approved sanction for construction of 6 different roads in our state as follows:
1. Showuba-Guzunyu-Pughoboto-Zunheboto-Aghunato-Noklak-Pangsha (200 Kms) approved in principle.
2. NH 702, road point at Zunheboto: Mariani- Mokokchung-Zunheboto-Phangsa-Phek-Meluri has been declared in 2015.
3.Trans Eastern Highway from Mon-Longwa-Pangsha-Kiphire-Avangkhu (280 Kms)
4.Gandhi Ashram Chuchuyimlang NH-2 to Pangsha (ITC) (167 Kms)
5.Maibung in Tening in Nagaland to Tamenlong via Tamei in Manipur (75 Kms)
6.(Ramani Ali) Simulguri-Bihubar in Assam to Mon in Nagaland (71 Kms).

Total Length (844.70 Kms)" .

Expressing confidence, he said, after implementation of the projects, the road face of the state will undergo a change for the better.

He however said, cautioned that lingering Naga issue may stand on the way to such development projects.

If present situation is not resolved, the future of coming generations will be at bleak.

He also urged the people to cooperate with the government and that problem of landownership may not hamper any development initiatives.

Earlier, the chief minister unveiled the monolith erected in commemoration of 75th anniversary of establishment of Zunheboto town.

The cabinet ministers, Advisers, Parliamentary Secretaries, MLAs, SP Zunheboto, President, Ao Senden, President Sumi Hoho, pioneers and former DCs, State Government Officials were present on the occasion.

* The sender of this news can be contacted at mediacellcmonagaland(AT)yahoo(DOT)com .

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