SYED BASHIR Now for the first time in last four years, BNP has admitted that the ‘fugitive’ and convicted eldest son of Begum Khaleda Zia, Tarique Rahman has submitted his passport to the UK Home Office and is staying there on cover of a political asylum in London. And with this admission coming into light, a long…
The first meeting of the newly constituted ‘NITI Forum for North East’ was held in Agartala. The meeting, organised by the NITI Aayog, Ministry of DoNER and the North Eastern Council (NEC), was co–chaired by the Vice–Chairman, NITI Aayog, Rajeev Kumar and the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr. Jitendra Singh. Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio and the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma, besides Deputy Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Chowna Mein also participated in the day–long deliberations. Senior Ministers, Chief Secretaries and senior officers of the Central Ministries and State Governments were also present.
In his inaugural address, Rajiv Kumar said the focus of development projects in the NER will be based on the concept of “HIRA” (Highways, Inland Waterways, Railways and Airways) as spelled out by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said emphasis will also be made on Education, Health and Skill Development in the region. He further said that Horticulture, Tourism, Food Processing, use of Bamboo and Made in North–East will be developed through five Mission Mode projects in a time–bound manner.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh, said the Government has focused on development in a region which more or less remained out of the mainstream for the last seven decades since Independence. He said there has been a significant 21% rise in fund utilisation in the North–East during the last three years. Dr. Singh said the Central Government has now committed full 100% funding for development projects in the NER, as against 90–10 ratio earlier with the State Governments funding 10% of the total cost.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio pointed out that Kohima is the only state capital in the North–East which does not have an airport. He said the State Government has acquired land for this purpose and at least one small airstrip at Kohima should be constructed for providing air connectivity to Nagaland under the UDAN scheme.
State bordering with Bangladesh from three sides imports more than Rs.300 crores annually from Bangladesh but exports a meagre Rs.4.6 crores. He said certain provisions prohibit export of rubber from Tripura, but the same is routed through West Bengal
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that development is the solution for all socio–economic problems in the region and through Infrastructure and Connectivity, many development problems can be solved. He said that the National Games–2022 will be held in Meghalaya, which will coincide with the 75th Anniversary of Indian Independence. He further said that economic challenges of the NER can be met by removing the physical and economic barriers. Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb thanked the Prime Minister for giving Tripura an opportunity to host this prestigious event. He said that the State bordering with Bangladesh from three sides imports more than Rs.300 crores annually from Bangladesh but exports a meagre Rs.4.6 crores. He said certain provisions prohibit export of rubber from Tripura, but the same is routed through West Bengal. Shri Deb said Tripura has immense potential in fisheries as the state has the world’s best climate suitable for aquaculture but this has not been exploited.
The ‘NITI Forum for North East’ was constituted in February 2018 with an aim to ensure sustainable economic growth of the North Eastern Region (NER) of the country and periodically review the development status in NER. ■