Located just 15 km from the commercial centre of Dimpaur, Vihokhu village is still awaiting development, with villagers demanding a higher secondary school, college, and healthcare facilities in the serene area.
The National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), led by the BJP, has fielded Chumben Murry in the Lok Sabha Elections, S Supongmeren Jamir is the candidate from the INC-led INDIA (Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance).
Unemployment is a poignant issue in the village. The majority of youth who go out of Nagaland to study, either have to settle outside or come back to engage in farming.
Villagers are hopeful that the newly elected representative in the Lok Sabha will bring development to the village. Polling for the lone parliamentary constituency of Nagaland is scheduled to take place on April 19. The counting of votes has been scheduled for June 4.
The village is home to 450-500 families and grapples with a multitude of challenges, as articulated by its chief and locals.
There is only one government school till class V and no colleges, said the village head. Moreover, there is no hospital or doctor in the village, the head said.
“Children have to take private buses to Dimapur for schools. There is no connectivity. After schooling, children have to either settle in Dimapur for college or leave the state altogether for better education opportunities,” Vihokhu village GB (Gaonbura) Kuhovi Zhimomi said.
The main occupation of villagers is farming; most of them hold big or small lands. While a few work as daily wagers, ninety per cent of the population is Christian, and the rest are Hindu and Christian.
As there are no opportunities other than farming, villagers said the majority of youth are unemployed.
“When children come back, they have no opportunity. Lakh of rupees are spent on one education but the youth come back to do farming here,” Hiketo Sumi said.
Sumi did his MBA In 2018 from Dehradun but returned to his village to take care of his ailing father.
Now he owns a hardware store in the village.
“I am settled down here. If there was any opportunity, I would have, though. But there are none. I am not alone; the majority of youth come back and engage in farming,” Sumi said.
Sukhali, a former teacher, underscores the pressing need for development, particularly in crucial sectors such as health and education.
“We are expecting the development of this region,” she asserts, emphasising the acute absence of government-sponsored healthcare facilities and the sole reliance on privately run pharmacies.
The absence of a reliable water supply further exacerbates the village’s woes, underscoring the dire need for basic infrastructure.
Education emerges as a critical area requiring immediate attention.
The current president of the student union at the village also underscored the absence of higher secondary schools and colleges, lamenting the necessity for youth to seek educational and employment opportunities outside the village.
“We need higher-class education,” Mughato Chishi stressed, echoing the sentiments of many residents yearning for accessible avenues for skill development and academic advancement within their community.
Healthcare also remains a glaring concern, with the absence of a hospital or clinic leaving residents reliant on pharmacies for medical needs. The dearth of essential services underscores the urgent need for comprehensive healthcare infrastructure.
Residents, echoing Zhimomi’s concerns, advocate for the establishment of industries to stimulate economic growth and provide employment opportunities for the village’s youth.
“For a simple health procedure, we have to go to Dimapur. There is a need for proper healthcare. But we have is new hospital coming up in the nearby village. So it is great news,” Shukali said.
The villagers say political parties have done several rounds of campaigning here and promised to bring development here.
“We are hopeful. There would be some changes following the elections. The candidates and political parties came to our village on April 10. They promised development. We told them we want tapped water supply, educational institutions and industries,” Zhimomi said.
The Lok Sabha elections are set to commence on April 19 to elect 543 Members of Parliament. Nagaland, situated in the north-east region of India, houses a single constituency in the Lok Sabha.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the NDPP-BJP coalition secured a significant victory over the Indian National Congress, emerging as the winner. The Nagaland Parliamentary Constituency, the sole Lok Sabha seat in the state, remains unreserved. (ANI)