Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday congratulating the three Northeastern states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya on their 50th statehood day, said improvements in connectivity and infrastructure had pivoted the states into connectivity hubs, well placed for fast-paced development.
In separate video messages to the three states, PM Modi described them as lands of opportunities and a hub for trade connectivity, stressing on the common theme of connectivity and development.
He also said the “double engine government” (where the same party was ruling at the centre and the state) had ensured “journey towards fast-paced development. Obstacles that existed have been removed.” All three states have either a BJP government or a BJP-backed government.
While the two principalities of Manipur and Tripura merged with India soon after independence and became Union Territories, Meghalaya was carved out of two districts of Assam into an `autonomous state within the State of Assam’ in 1969.
All three states were given full statehood through North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971 on this day, 50 years back in 1972.
In his message to Tripura, CM Modi said, despite difficulties in connectivity in earlier decades, it was turning into “a land of opportunities and a hub for trade connectivity.”
“The double engine government at the center and state have fulfilled the long pending demand of Tripura by gaining access to the Chittagong sea port in Bangladesh”, the prime minister said adding the state received the first cargo from Bangladesh through Akhaura Integrated Check Post in 2020.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah who also spoke on the occasion through a video conferencing link, said the plan for Tripura’s development over the next 25 years has been laid out in a vision document `Lakshya Tripura’.
Minister Shah also said there was a time when the Northeast was known for corruption but now the funds sent from Delhi are fully utilised for the development in the region.
He said the state, which has the potential to be the gateway of the North East, is now being connected with the rest of the country by Agartala-Akhaura railways. The 15-km long AgartalañAkhaura rail would connect the north eastern railway tracks with Bangladesh railways to reach to Kolkata.
In another video message to Meghalaya, the Prime Minister also spoke of his commitment to improving connectivity to the mountainous state, nestled between Assam and Bangladesh.
He also lauded Meghalaya for being among the first states to use drones for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Centre is committed to the improvement of road, rail and air connectivity in Meghalaya. I assure people of the state of my continued support and determination to develop more sectors apart from tourism and organic agricultural produce. Measures have been taken to ensure new domestic and global markets for the state’s organic produce” Modi said.
“Meghalaya has given the world a message of conservation of nature and eco-sustainability,” he said.
The prime minister said that the state has enormous talent in the fields of arts, music and sports, and lauded the Shillong Chamber Choir, whose founder and noted music composer Neil Nongkynrih died in Mumbai earlier this month.
In a third separate message to Manipur, which will be going to the polls to elect a new state assembly, Prime Minister Modi asserted on Friday that impediments to Manipur’s progress have been removed and it is now primed for fast-paced development.
He asked the state’s people not to allow “the forces that halted its progress … (be) allowed to rear their heads” again.
PM Modi said Manipur deserves peace and also deserves to be rid of frequent bandhs and blockades, and added that it has been achieved under the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
The BJP is in power in the state where the assembly polls will be held on February 27 and March 3.
“Manipur stands at a crucial juncture after 50 years (of statehood). It has started a journey towards fast development. Obstacles that existed have been removed. We don’t have to look back from here.”
The prime minister said under the ‘double-engine’ of development, Manipur is getting long awaited facilities like railways. People of the state had to wait for 50 years for a passenger train, he pointed out.
BJP leaders use the term “double engine” to refer to the party being in power at the Centre as well as in a state. While the Congress dominated politics in Manipur for much of the time since its foundation, the BJP rose to power there for the first time in 2017 and is now looking to retain it.
Connectivity projects worth thousands of crores rupees are underway in the state, including Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line. Similarly, with the Imphal airport getting international status, connectivity of North-Eastern states with Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru has improved.
Manipur will also benefit from the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and upcoming Rs 9000 crore natural gas pipeline in the region, the prime minister said.
The prime minister also said the government is committed to making Manipur the sports powerhouse of the country, and it has a key role in the vision of making the North-East the centre of its Act East policy. The state has got the country’s first national sports university, he noted, lauding the sporting abilities of its youngsters.
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