2 July:Holding that infrastructure deficiency in north-east is a "major concern", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced linking of all state capitals there by rail to ensure better connectivity and earmarking of Rs 31,000 crores to improve roads.
Releasing ‘Vision Document 2020 for the North-Eastern Region’ in New Delhi on Wednesday, he said besides developing rail and air connectivity, the Government is also committed to improve road facilities in the Eleventh Plan."Infrastructure deficiency is a major concern in the region. We will link all the state capitals in the region by rail network and Rs 31,000 crore will be invested on roads during the 11th plan," Singh said.
Describing the north-eastern region as the land of rising sun for India, he said time has come "for the sun to shine brightly on it. Vision document defines the path to that bright future."
For improving air connectivity, he announced that a green-field airport will come up at Itanagar to connect the region with the rest of the country.
He said all villages on the Arunachal Pradesh border will soon be electrified at a cost of Rs 550 crore.
The Vision Document, approved by the North-east council, also lays stress on promoting education in the region.
"We are committed for inclusive and equitable growth. We will set up a NTFT and IIT at Shillong," Singh said.
Focussing on the farm sector in the North-East, the Prime Minister said, a second ‘Green Revolution’ specific to the region was needed.
The document envisages an ambitious strategy for the region to eradicate poverty and rope in investors.
It deals with challenges to ensure peace and progress, empowerment of people by maximising self governance, rural development with a focus on improving agricultural productivity, augmenting infrastructure besides others.
The document emphasises that the ‘Look East Policy’ should give focus on the region and take a view that the Southeast Asia begins from the northeast and through opening up of trade routes, there could be accelerated growth and expansion of economic opportunities.
On the key issue of peace, the document says people of the region wanted to live in peace and harmony and free from insurgency.
"Without peace, progress is not possible. Insurgency has taken a heavy toll on economic progress and people’s happiness in the region. The people of the northeast would like peace to return to their lives, leakages to cease and development to take precedence," it says.
The vision document says the region requires a participatory development strategy which calls for maximisation of self-governance.
There is a need for a complete shift in the development strategy and the planning process towards designing and implementing people-centric programmes based on harnessing resources of the region.
Only such a strategy can ensure inclusive development, help alleviate poverty and ensure a reasonable standard of living for every family in the region, the document says.
Three airlines bid for NE region air carrier
As many as three airlines, including state-run Alliance Air, have bid for operating a dedicated regional air carrier for the north-eastern states.
"Three airlines have participated in the tender for the regional airline," Minister for Development for North-Eastern Region Mani Shankar Aiyer said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Apart from Alliance Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Indian Airlines, two other companies — Universal Empire and Ace Airlines — have submitted offers to run the new airline.
The winning bidder will be eligible for subsidies from the North Eastern Council. The new dedicated regional airline is expected to start operations by the end of this year.
Guwahati will be the hub of the regional airline.
At present, there are 11 operational airports in the region, including Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Jorhat, Silchar, Dimapur, Imphal, Agartala, Aizawal and Bagdogra.
At least 12 new airports are expected to be operationalised in the region by the end of 2008 and 25 new airports would come up over the period of the 11th five year plan.
The Ministry of DoNER is aiming for as many as 400 flights every month internally connecting the region by the end of 2009.
In August last year, the Civil Aviation Ministry had announced a number of subsidies for airlines interested in operating in the regional space under a separate regional air carrier permit.Courtsey : DD NEWS