The Way Forward

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Transparency and Accountability of the KAAC
The autonomous councils may, to some extent, have been successful in connecting tribal population to the political mainstream and in establishing some sort of administrative setup, but have miserably failed in promoting development. In the first place, their developmental agenda is very limited and whatever is there are stifled by lack of resources. Also, even the small budgets prepared by them and approved by the state governments are seldom fully met. The money comes late and their disbursement has been irregular. There is a need to have transparency and accountability in the functioning of the KAAC. On the part of government, it is necessary that funds required by these councils are allocated timely to empower these councils to have credibility among the populace. Creation of KAATC with enhanced executive, legislate powers and development functions is long awaited and need to be expedited.
Addressing the Aspirations of All Communities
Fear of insecurity among Kukis and Rangma Naga has given rise to the militant groups like NRPF and KRA. The Rengma Nagas in Karbi Anglong have been demanding a separate autonomous council through bifurcation of Rengma Hills from Karbi Hills. The Kukis in Karbi Anglong have also been demanding an autonomous regional council for Kuki-inhabited areas, citing neglect of the community by KAAC. There is a need to assuage the grievances and apprehensions of Kuki, Naga and other communities inhabiting Karbi Anglong. Hence, it is important that aspirations of these communities are addressed by giving them adequate representation in the KAAC/KAATC. An inclusive approach to development would lead to peace and harmony in this region.
Closure of Camps and Rehabilitation of Cadres
There are more than 1,000 cadres in five camps established by the government in East Karbi Anglong. While awaiting rehabilitation, they often indulge in illegal activities such as extortion. There have also been instances of surrendered cadres again joining active militant groups either due to frustration, coercion or compulsion. An attempt towards early finalisation of the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) followed by comprehensive rehabilitation of cadres and closure of these camps is necessary for bringing peace in Karbi Anglong. In the interim, it is important to manage ceasefire camps and strictly implement ceasefire ground rules while ensuring smooth integration of cadres into the mainstream.
Inclusive Development
Inclusive development is a pro-poor approach that equally values and incorporates the contributions of all stakeholders including the marginalised groups in addressing development issues. Many people are excluded from development because of their gender, ethnicity and other tribe related issues.
This is the biggest challenge in the Karbi Anglong region because of the existing diversity and varied interests of each tribe.
There have been indications of increased differences between the Karbis and non-Karbis. Thus, the civil administration should ensure inclusiveness and create bonhomie amongst the locals.
The remote areas of Karbi Anglong lack the basic amenities of health, education, connectivity and have seen extremely slow rate of development. The roads are still in poor state. It is extremely important to develop and implement an action plan for overall development of these areas. Infrastructure development will open up new avenues for the locals, which in turn will lead to peace and prosperity.
Sustained Security Forces’ Operations
Security forces have been operating effectively in the East Karbi Anglong which has restricted the movement of the cadres. The pressure generated by the security forces has led to surrender by the cadres. There have also been numerous incidents wherein the locals have apprehended the cadres and handed them over to the Army. These are positive indicators and show waning support for militancy in the area. Several bold and innovative operations launched by the security forces have helped extend the reach of civil administration and the police to remote areas. Such synergised operations need to continue to maintain pressure on the militant outfits and extend development activities to the remote areas of the district.
Conclusion
Karbis have been seeking better opportunities, all round development, basic facilities and greater security through better governance. Most of the rural areas in the interiors are yet to be connected with a
metalled road.
Therefore, improvement of roads and transport as well as building of RCC bridges along with other development projects should be the focus area. The infrastructure for education is also appalling in the district and urgently needs to be improved.
Therefore, an inclusive approach to development in both Karbi and non-Karbi inhabited areas is necessary for stability and peace in Karbi Anglong.
Brig. (Dr.) Sushil Kumar Sharma, YSM is presently posted as DIGP, CRPF in the Northeast Region.

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