“We are committed to making the Northeast an engine of India’s growth story”: PM Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating the first-ever airport of Sikkim in Pakyong on 24th September reiterated his commitment towards the development of Northeast India. Modi has maintained that ‘India’s growth story will get speed only when there is an all-round development of the Northeast and its people’.
While addressing the people of Sikkim, PM Modi stated that with Sikkim getting its first ever airport, India has managed to get 1000 airports operational out of which 35 airports can be attributed to the BJP government since they have been developed in the last 4 years.
BJP until the recent victory in state elections in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya which was a landmark for the party, had very little traction in the region except in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The party was even seen as an outsider until PM Modi’s ‘Act East’ policy changed the situation.
As part of this policy, the NDA government has been focusing on reducing the isolation of the region by improving all-around connectivity through road, rail, telecom, power and waterways sectors.
This year, as a part of the government’s vision, to see Northeast India on top of the development chart, solar toilets were installed at Ibudhou Marjing hill Heingang of Manipur, making Manipur the first state in North-East and third in India to have solar toilets.
Last year while addressing a meeting after inaugurating a 60-MW Tuirial hydropower project, Modi had announced that Mizoram had become the third power-surplus state in the North-East after Sikkim and Tripura. Modi had then proudly said “The completion of this project is a reflection of our commitment to completing ongoing projects and ushering in a new era of development in the North-East.
The Tuirial project, which was announced and cleared in 1998 by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was the first major central project to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year also inaugurated India’s longest bridge, the Dhola-Sadia bridge, spanning 9.3 km across the Brahmaputra, taking infrastructure development in the region forward by several steps.
The road bridge, connecting Dhola in Arunachal Pradesh to Sadiya in Assam, has been built at a cost of Rs2,056 crore by the ministry of road transport and highways.
PM Narendra Modi had in 2016 inaugurated a petrochemical project in Dibrugarh in Assam, a first-ever such project in the northeast. The project is India’s highest wax producing unit using indigenous technology.
In its quest to intensify the development of Northeastern regions, the government currently is also making a heavy investment in power transmission projects covering all the eight North Eastern states at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore.
Under the supervision of Modi government, railways have undertaken a major expansion in the region at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore. In November 2014, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya were put up on the railway map for the first time. Agartala in Tripura has also been connected with broad gauge line.
In the North East, the Indian Railways has commissioned about 900 kilometres of Broad Gauge in the last two years and in addition to this 132 kilometre part of third alternative connectivity route to North East (that is New Maynaguri – Jogighopa) has also been commissioned. The Indian Railways had announced in May that it plans to invest a further Rs 40,000 crores in the Northeastern states for infrastructure development and connectivity.
Modi government concerned about the staggering unemployment rate encompassing Northeast regions have established two important projects in Assam – Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited and Numaligarh Refinery Limited’s wax unit, which would create huge job opportunities for people in the northeast.
In its first, the Modi government implemented an improved internet connectivity project for the North East region in collaboration with Bangladesh, which will make 10 GB of seamless alternate bandwidth available for the region.
Connectivity, economic growth, tourism and enabling the locals to find better opportunities in employment has been the focus of the government. In August this year, the NDA government passed the bill for India’s first ever sports university to be built in Manipur.
Apart from these developments, the government believing and working towards achieving PMs vision making ‘Northeast an engine of India’s growth story’, has been relentlessly working in other spheres as well which includes Tourism, Development of rural areas, setting up of BPO industry, organic farming etc.
Recently in the fourth summit of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) which was held at Nepal capital Kathmandu on 30th and 31th August 2018, Prime Minister, re-emphasised the importance to Northeastern India and stressed on his priority to develop the region.