Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that his government was investing Rs seven lakh crore to develop the infrastructure in the northeastern region even as the spending for the region was mere Rs two lakh crore since the independence of the country.
Addressing the golden jubilee celebration of the North East Council (NEC) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Polo Ground) in Shillong, the Prime Minister said that the borders of the northeast were not the last areas but would be the security and development gateway with trade and commerce would be undertaken with the neighbouring countries.
He said that a vibrant border village would be created with all facilities and connectivity in the bordering areas. The Prime Minister said that the northeast is India's gateway to South -East Asia and can become a centre for development of the entire region and to realise this potential of the region, work was going on the projects like Indian-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Agartala-Akhaura rail project.
Prime Minister highlighted that the government has gone beyond the conversion of the 'Look East' policy to 'Act East', and now its policy is 'Act Fast for Northeast' and 'Act First for Northeast'.
Highlighting the success of peace initiatives in the region, he said that many peace agreements have been signed and a large number of insurgents join the mainstream of life, decades old inter-state boundary problems being resolved and there has been a marked reduction in instances of extremism.
Announcing that all kinds of requirements of the northeastern region would be fulfilled, the Prime Minister said that with the establishment of lasting peace in the region, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been lifted from most parts of the region.
Referring to the tourism potential of the region, he said that both culture and nature of the region are attracting tourists from across the world. Noting that in the last eight years, the number of airports in the region has jumped from 9 to 16, and the numbers of flights have increased from about 900 before 2014 to around 1,900 now, Modi said that work was now underway to connect all the state capitals of the region by railway networks.
Saying that the length of national highways has increased by 50 per cent since 2014 in the region, he said that with the launch of the PM-DevINE scheme, the infrastructure projects in the northeast have gained more momentum.
He added that the government was also working on improving digital connectivity in the Northeast by increasing the optical fibre network. Talking about the development of Atmanirbhar 5G infrastructure, he said that 5G would help further development of startup ecosystem, service sector among others in the region.
For expanding the mobile networks, 6,000 mobile towers were either installed or being installed at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore. "When the FIFA World Cup football competition is going on in Doha (Qatar), I am along with the football lovers at a football ground in Shillong," the Prime Minister said, adding that India's first sports university being set up in the northeast (Manpur) while works for the 90 projects are going on.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of multiple projects worth over Rs 2,450 crore. The projects include mobile towers, new Campus of IIM Shillong at Umsawli, Shillong -- Diengpasoh Highways, Spawn Laboratory at Mushroom Development Center, Integrated Beekeeping Development Centre and 21 Hindi libraries for Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Assam.