GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the Centre was correcting the historical mistakes of the negligence of Assam through various development initiatives.
“(Pre-Independence) Assam was one of the states giving the highest revenues. In those days, petroleum products and tea used to reach the Chittagong port (in present-day Bangladesh) and Kolkata via Brahmaputra, Padma, and Meghna rivers and the railway. Connectivity was the reason behind Assam’s prosperity. But after Independence, when this infrastructure was supposed to be modernized, it was left to its fate,” Modi said while virtually launching the “Mahabahu-Brahmaputra”, a conglomerate of some multi-modal water connectivity projects,
He said the focus was not laid on waterways and as such, it almost got finished. Negligence on the aspect of development was one of the reasons. Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji started correcting the mistakes. Now, Assam’s development is on the Centre’s priority, he said.
“Work which should have been done before for connectivity through the Brahmaputra did not happen. As such, connectivity always remained a challenge. Now, work is being expedited. Over the past few years, the double engines of Assam and Central government tried to reduce the geographical and cultural distances. The physical and cultural integrity of Assam and the Northeast was strengthened in the years gone by. Whether it is Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Setu, Bogibeel Bridge, Saraighat Bridge, or others, many such bridges have eased the life of Assam. They strengthened the country’s security and provided great convenience to the soldiers,” Modi said.
Stating that the work on inland waterways will leave a major impact on Assam and the Northeast, he said an agreement was signed with Bangladesh recently to improve water connectivity.
“Work is underway on the India-Bangladesh protocol route across river Hooghly to connect rivers Brahmaputra and Barak. By connecting the Northeast with the rest of India, the dependence of the region on the narrow connecting part would be reduced,” the PM said.
He said the Jogighopa IWT Terminal would strengthen an alternative route to connect Assam with Haldia Port and Kolkata through a waterway. Bhutan and Bangladesh cargoes at this terminal and cargoes at Jogighopa Multi-Modal Logistics Park would get facilities for movement to different places on the Brahmaputra, he said.
Reiterating his thrust on Digital India, the PM said the first data center of Northeast would be built in Guwahati with an investment of hundreds of crores of rupees. He said this would serve as a data center hub for the entire region and the IT service-based industry, BPO ecosystem and start-ups would be strengthened through e-governance.