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Interaction on development trends in North East held in Delhi

Academics, journalists and activists on Sunday (August 9, 2015) urged the people of several states come under India’s North East region for a better a prolong mechanism to work together to address various basic and long lasting issues and demands of people in the region. They were part of an interaction and a panel discussion on issues of North East held in New Delhi.


The panel discussion participated by eminent professor Sanjoy Hazarika, director of the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research in New Delhi’s central university Jamia Millia Islamia and managing trustee, Center for North East Studies and Policy Research, journalist, environmentalist and South Asia Director of the Third Pole Joydeep Gupta and senior journalist and author Kishalay Bhattacharjee.

Panelists emphasize on a mechanism on an urgent basis to work together for various organizations which are active in the field of civil society, environment and human right issues in the region.

While initiating the discussion Sanjoy Hazarika said that it is a constant feature that people of North East haven’t worked together. Assamese thinks only about Assam, Nagaland people think only about Nagaland. They don’t think about each other.

You need to connect to the media to tell your stories, then the world can know what is going on inside the North East, Hazarika said

“People outside North East want to know more what is going on inside the North East. Need for information is paramount. Even people of the region are less known about themselves,” added Joydeep Gupta.

He said that activism should come out from the affected communities otherwise it will not be sustainable.

Describing bad condition of rivers in several North Eastern regions Hazarika said that if one drives from Bagdogra to Gangtok he will find that the river has degenerated  a lake in parts because of large dams which have come up on its main course while the debris dumped into the water is also damaging its ecosystems.

Bagdogra comes under West Bengal and Gangtok falls under Sikkim state have about 130 km distance.

Again, if you travel from Imphal to Kohima, the Barak River doesn’t look like a river, Hazarika added.

Imphal and Kohima is the capital city of northeastern states Manipur and Nagaland respective and have about 140 km distance.

Hazarika said that Land is the heart of every dispute in North East. It may be between different groups, ethnicities or between outsider and insider.

He said that due to lack of development, insurgency and other reasons about 35000 people leave North East, especially from Assam, every year and go to metro cities and other smaller cities.

Discussing about the issue of development and destruction of natural resources allegedly by corporate houses, Kishalay Bhatarjee pointed out the grave impact of conflicts between Bodo and Non Bodo in Assam.

He said that the destruction of natural resources is not done only by corporate houses, but local powerful groups are also involved.

At the Nameri, both sides of the road are deforested by Bodo militants, Bhatarjee explained.

They did such things to claim the Bodo land, he added.

Earlier, Mary Beth Sanate, who introduced herself as a social activist, gave a detailed picture about condition of the common people in the North East and Shangnaider Tontang discussed recent incidents of flood and landslide in the region.

The program was organized by the Coalition on Environment and Natural Resources, Television Trust for Environment, and Assam Times Foundation.

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