Govt to work on 8 pillars for development of North East: PM

New Delhi: The government should work on the eight pillars of peace, power, tourism, 5G connectivity, culture, natural farming, sports and potential for development of the North East Region, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

Addressing the meeting of North Eastern Council (NEC), the Prime Minister said that Northeast is our gateway to Southeast Asia. “It can become a centre for development of the entire region. To realize this potential, work is underway on projects like India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Agartala-Akhaura rail project.”

He added that the government has gone beyond the conversion of the Look East policy to Act East. “Now its policy is Act for Northeast and Act first for Northeast. Many peace agreements are signed, inter-state boundary agreements are done and there is a marked reduction in instances of extremism.”

PM Modi said that Northeast can become a powerhouse of hydropower. “This will make the states of the region power surplus, help in expansion of industries and generate a large number of jobs.”

The Prime Minister added that both culture and nature of the region attract tourists from across the world. “Tourism circuits are being identified and developed in the region also. We should send students from 100 universities to Northeast. It will help bring people of different regions closer. These students can then become ambassadors of the region.”

He said that iconic bridge projects which were pending since several decades are now complete. “In last 8 years, number of airports in the region has jumped from 9 to 16, and the number of flights have increased from about 900 before 2014 to around 1900. Many North eastern states have come to Railway map for the first time and efforts are being done to expand the waterways also. The length of national highways has increased by 50% since 2014 in the region.”

PM Modi added that with the launch of the PM-DevINE scheme, the infrastructure projects in the Northeast have gained more momentum. “The government is also working on improving digital connectivity in the Northeast by increasing the optical fiber network. 5G will help further development of startup ecosystem, service sector among others in the region. The government is committed to making the Northeast not only a centre of economic growth, but also of cultural growth.”

The Prime Minister said that there is scope of natural farming and Northeast can play a leading role. “Through Krishi UDAN, farmers of the region are able to send their products across the country and different parts of the world as well. I urge the North eastern states to participate in the ongoing National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm.”

Speaking about India’s G20 Presidency, he said that its meetings would witness people from all over the world coming to the Northeast. “This will be an apt opportunity to showcase the nature, culture and potential of the region.”

The meeting marks the golden jubilee celebration of the North Eastern Council, which was formally inaugurated in 1972.

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