Guwahati: Reiterating that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants the entire country to be free from illegal immigrants, Union home minister Amit Shah has announced that the saffron party has a plan ready and will bring all states into confidence before taking any decisions.
Addressing the 4th conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in Guwahati, Assam on Monday, Shah said that the alliance was set up to take National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to the grassroots level.
Criticising the Congress party for the prolonged militancy in the entire Northeast, Shah said, “Expelling illegal immigrants not only from Assam but also from the entire country is one of our top-most priorities.”
Expressing satisfaction over the performance of the BJP in the Northeast, the Union home minister alleged that during the Congress regime, the party did not do any development works for the welfare of the people of the region. The Congress party has made the problems in Northeast more complicated for their vested political benefits.
“We should work towards making Northeast corruption free. The more you work on eliminating corruption, more people will like you. You shall be liked and appreciated,” he said, adding: “Article 370 was temporary. Article 371 is permanent and the right of the states of Northeast. In order to preserve the cultural identity of the region, this article will be kept as is. There is no need to worry about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.”
“All eight states of the Northeast will have to come together. A state cannot think of only its own development. Development cannot be achieved in isolation. All states should come together to promote tourism and to prevent flooding. States should also work towards solving boundary issues. Plan for development, you have full backing of the Modi government,” Shah added.
Meanwhile, in his speech, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma expressed concern over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) and urged Shah to take the Northeastern states and its people into confidence if a decision is taken on the legislation.
“My government wants to transform Meghalaya into an economically developed, sustainability-focused middle income state by 2030. To achieve this goal, large investments are needed in the various sectors of the economy. We are particularly focusing on primary sector rejuvenation, human capital development, infrastructure expansion and entrepreneurship promotion,” Sangma said.
On allocation of new projects, he said, “In the recent past, the North Eastern Council (NEC) has not been able to take up new projects owing to resource constraints. Against the allocation of Rs 4,500 crore approved by the Union cabinet for the schemes of NEC for the period from 2017-20, only Rs 19 crore was left for new NEC projects. The rest of the money was allocated for clearing of committed liabilities of various ongoing projects. This lack of resources has constrained the NEC’s ability to fund new projects.”
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio said, “The highly controversial CAB will change the demography of the Northeast, if it is implemented by the Centre. We believe it will change the demography of the North East. We need to understand the ground situation.”
Participating in the programme, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga raised several vital needs of the region such as the declining NEC fund allotment, separate cost norms for hilly states, simple and less complex Enhanced Approval Process (EAP) approval process, and a separate All India Service Cadre for Mizoram, among others.
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in the country, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal stressed on the need of strengthening of the BJP in the region for overall development of the Northeast. He also thanked all the participants of the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb said, “The outlay for Rs 580 crore for 2019-20 to NEC is too small to take care of the ongoing incomplete projects leaving hardly any worth mentioning amount for new projects in the pipeline. In order to address the problem of regional disparity, NEC may be adequately funded and its budget during 2019-20 may also be substantially enhanced. The NEC liabilities for the ongoing projects of Tripura are perhaps the lowest among the Northeastern states.
NEDA convenor and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also spoke during the programme, among many others.