PEACE OR conflict, there’s something about Nagaland that makes New Delhi err.
The Union ministry of urban development, which released the Swachh Bharat ranking of capital cities on August 8, placed Dimapur at the 13th spot between Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Imphal (Manipur).
It made residents of Dimapur, often troubled by tax-collecting rebel groups on ceasefire mode, happy.
But then, Dimapur is not the capital of Nagaland. Kohima, 75 km uphill, is.
The list also mentions Guwahaty (sic) as the capital of Assam. The official capital is Dispur, which is essentially a large locality within the municipal limits of Guwahati.
And Itangar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, is missing from the list of Indian state capitals, possibly because the China factor was working in the subconscious.
Dimapur, though, is the frontier state’s commercial hub by virtue of being the most connected. The city has Nagaland’s only airport and railhead.
“Having your city high on the list of clean state capitals is a nice feeling. But then, it is the wrong capital on the right list,” said Dimapur resident and activist Banuo Haralu.
Others found it strange that Dimapur got a higher rating than Meghalaya capital Shillong (17th).
Four north-eastern capital cities made it to the top 10 on the list. Sikkim capital Gangtok is placed 3rd, Tripura capital Agartala is 7th, Mizoram capital Aizawl is 9th and Guwahati is 10th.
(This appeared in Hindustan Times on 10 August 2015)