NEW DELHI: For long the North-East has been a victim of its geography. To alter this and make the north-eastern staes the gateway to South East Asia, the Centre will be pumping in Rs. 40,000 crore to boost connectivity to the seven states.
The North-eastern states are important to operationalise India’s Act East Policy by acting as bridge between mainland India and South East Asian countries. Hence improvement of road infrastructure, augmenting air connectivity and expanding rail network in the region are imperative.
“A road infrastructure is being prepared in the North-East at the investment of Rs. 40,000 crore. Nineteen major railway projects have been started; the electricity infrastructure is also being imrroved. The whole region is being developed to give impetus to tourism,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing the centenary celebrations of a voluntary organisation, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, in Shillong through video conferencing.
“The small airports of the North-east are being modernised. The Shillong runway extension has also been approved. Soon north east will also be linked to ‘UDAN’ (Udey Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme. All these steps will help in making north east the gateway to South East Asia,” Modi added.
However, the lack of any cities from the North East in the 50 clean cities of India, besides Gangtok, has not escaped the Prime Minister, who lamented that an “unclean” gatway would not make a good impression.
Only Gangtok (in the Northeast) had found a place in the first 50 clean cities, out of the 12 cities from the region surveyed as part of the recent nationwide cleanliness survey. While four Northeastern cities found a place between 100 and 200 clean cities, seven were positioned between 200 and 300, with Shillong being the 276th, he said while stressing that 'Swachhata' or cleanliness was a major challenge for everyone in the region.