PM's focus on NE has ushered in unprecedented devp: Himanta

Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on the North East and according top priority to it during his nine years in office has ushered in unprecedented development in the region, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.

Massive investments in the region have taken place under Modi, he said at an interaction with reporters here.

“This is the best of times for the North East. If we constructively engage with the central government, all the states in the region will march ahead in growth and development,” Sarma said.

The prime minister’s connection with the North East is emotional and he has termed the region as ‘Asta Lakshmi’, he said at the interaction held to mark the nine years of BJP-led government headed by Modi at the Centre.

There are eight states in the region, including Sikkim.

“The focus on the North East has nothing to do with electoral politics. As far as electoral politics is concerned, the region is not very attractive as many states have only one or two MPs. But there is an emotional connect of the prime minister that has led to huge capital investments in the region,” Sarma said.

Prior to 2014, large capital investments were not made in the region but Modi realised that its development will not be possible without connectivity. Massive expenditures have since taken place to ensure connectivity – in the field of infrastructural development for proper transportation and communication networks, digital penetration in remote and far-flung areas, banking sectors and other areas to ensure economic buoyancy in the region, he said.

The Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DeviNe), announced as part of the union budget 2022-23, aims at rapid and holistic development of the region by funding projects of significant impact, Sarma said.

“It is not only about development projects and investments in the region. Modiji has given an identity to the North East and its people which was beyond our expectations,” the chief minister said.

The discrimination that the people of the North East faced earlier has gone down considerably due to the prime minister’s outreach efforts to ensure that those from the region live in peace in other parts of the country, Sarma said.

“The students, youth and people of the region living in other parts of the country now know all local politicians of the states where they reside. It is the politicians who reach out to them as Modi ji has made it clear that they stay in peace and not face any trouble in whichever state they live,” he added.

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Sarma said that unlike in earlier times meeting the prime minister is no longer a ‘herculean task”. “I was in Delhi during the last three days and met him on all days. This is not only for me but for all chief ministers of the North East.”

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw gave a Powerpoint presentation on the achievements of the BJP government during the last nine years.

Earlier, in the day Modi virtually flagged off North East’s first Vande Bharat Express from Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal.

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