NEW DELHI: With four northeastern states going to polls in 2018, the BJP is seeking to build its campaign on the plank of steering the region towards development after decades of neglect.
To demonstrate the BJP government’s development credentials and its pledge to accord priority to the northeast, the Centre is gearing up to unveil first-of-its kind air dispensaries for Manipur and Meghalaya in the coming days.
A Union minister informed that the Ministry of DONEAR (Development of Northeastern Region), in partnership with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, would launch helicopter-based air dispensaries equipped with OPDs.
The minister stated that the air dispensaries would utilise the services of doctors from state hospitals of Manipur and Meghalaya to attend to patients in far-flung areas. “The proposal will soon get the Cabinet approval,” he said during an informal attraction with reporters at the BJP headquarters. The proposal has been prepared on the lines of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, he added.
“The NDA government at the Centre has ensured priority for the northeast. Barring Sikkim, all north-eastern states are going to have rail connectivity soon. The Sikkim airport is ready and we’re awaiting a nod from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inauguration, which could happen any day. The airport at Shillong is currently in the process of upgradation. We have identified land for an airport in Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh,” said the minister, who is the BJP’s pointsperson for the region.
The BJP is making spirited attempts to establish the party’s footprints in the poll-bound states of Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
The minister said plans are also afoot to develop a cinema hub in the northeast. “Only two films had been shot in Arunachal Pradesh. But the Modi government, by allowing establishment of a second film and television institute in Arunachal Pradesh after Pune, has opened up the possibility for filmmakers to shoot in the scenic locales of N-E states,” he stated.
The BJP is also bracing up for an alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which has in the past raised separatist demands. However, the minister told reporters that IPFT hasn’t raised its separatist demands during initial talks with the BJP. “There have been meetings and as of now, they have only sought redressal of their genuine grievances. The relations between the BJP and the IPFT are still evolving,” the minister added.
Progress takes wings
Ministry of DONEAR (Development of Northeastern Region), in partnership with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, would launch helicopter-based air dispensaries equipped with OPDs
Air dispensaries would utilise the services of doctors from state hospitals of Manipur and Meghalaya to attend to patients
Government has identified land for an airport in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh