SHILLONG: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that his government during its eight-year tenure has removed all obstacles that came in the way of development of the North East region.
Addressing a public meeting on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the North East Council (NEC) here, he also said that improved air connectivity provided to the region has been helping export of agricultural produce, benefiting farmers.
Ahead of the FIFA World Cup final in Qatar, Modi also said that the NDA “government has shown the red card to many obstacles that came in the way of development for the North East.
“Obstacles such as corruption, discrimination, violence and vote bank politics were removed,” the PM said in his 26-minute speech.
“Earlier, attempts were made to divide NE. Now, we are removing these divisions,” Modi said at the meeting.
He also inaugurated, dedicated and laid the foundation stone for multiple projects.
Among the projects inaugurated, one is the sprawling campus of the IIM-Shillong at the New Shillong Township.
The Prime Minister, who arrived here in the morning, earlier attended the golden jubilee celebrations of the NEC at the State Convention Centre, along with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and several other union ministers and dignitaries.
Modi, on the occasion, released ‘Golden Footprints’, a commemorative volume chronicling NEC’s contribution towards the development of the northeast over the last 50 years, according to an official statement.
A short film on NEC’s journey of 50 years was also screened on the occasion, the statement said.
In that closed-door meeting, Modi hailed the contribution of NEC to the development of the region.
Describing the eight states of the region as Asht Lakshmi’ (eight forms of the goddess of wealth), he said that the government should work on eight foundation pillars for the development of NE.
The eight foundation pillars’ are peace, power, tourism, 5G connectivity, culture, natural farming, sports and potential.
“The Northeast is our gateway to South-East Asia and can become a centre for the development of the entire region. And to realise this potential of the region, work is going on the projects like Indian-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Agartala-Akhaura rail project,” according to an official statement.
Many peace agreements have been signed, inter-state boundary agreements have been done and there has been a marked reduction in instances of extremism, he said.
In the last eight years, the number of airports in the region has jumped from nine to 16, and that of flights has increased from about 900 before 2014 to around 1900, he said adding that many NE states have come on the railway map and efforts are being done to expand the waterways also.
The length of national highways has increased by 50 per cent since 2014 in the region.
Modi also talked about the potential of the region in the hydropower and tourism sectors.
The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament. However, it was formally inaugurated on November 7, 1972.