Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday the Centre is committed to putting all the state capitals of the northeast on the rail map and is executing 15 new projects in the region.
“We are committed to bring all the state capitals of the northeast region on the rail map. The government of India is executing 15 new rail line projects of 1,385 km length, at a cost of over Rs 47,000 crore,” Modi said during his visit to Mizoram.
“It is said that the lack of connectivity is one of the biggest hurdles in the path of development of the Northeastern region,” Modi noted, adding: “My government wants to do ‘transformation by transportation’ through investment in infrastructure…”
He said the Centre has been proactively following the ‘Act East Policy’. “As a gate-way to South East Asia, Mizoram stands to gain immensely from this. It can emerge as a key transit point for trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh,” said the Prime Minister.
The vision of New India can be realised only if fruits of development reach all, he said.
The Centre plans to focus on around 115 districts which are relatively backward when evaluated on various indicators. This will benefit backward districts of Northeastern states, including Mizoram, said Modi.
“In the spirit of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” every Indian, irrespective of caste, gender, religion, class must have equal opportunities to partake in the new prosperity,” he added.
Modi was in Mizoram to inaugurate the 60 MW Tuirial Hydro Electric Power Project (HEPP). He dedicated the project to the people saying it will boost the socio-economic development of the state.
Tuirial Hydropower Project is the first major central government project to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram, Modi said, also adding that besides electricity the reservoir water will also open new avenues for navigation.
“This will provide connectivity to remote villages. The huge reservoir, spread over an area of 45 square km, can also be used for development of fisheries,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said the project would boost eco-tourism and provide a source of assured drinking water supply.
He said the project was first cleared by the union government of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, way back in 1998 but got delayed.
“The completion of this project is a reflection of our commitment to complete ongoing projects and usher in a new era of development in the Northeastern region,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also said that during the tenure of Vajpayee, significant work was done for the development of the Northeast.
“We have taken forward this vision and are devoting resources for the progress of the Northeast. My ministerial colleagues are frequently visiting the Northeast,” Modi said.
“There have been over 150 ministerial visits. Our initiative – the Ministry of DoNER at your doorstep has added impetus to the development of the Northeast. It has enabled us to understand the aspirations of the Northeast even better,” he added.
Modi also said that he was delighted to be in Mizoram and this was his first visit as Prime Minister as he had visited the state before also.
“I admire the beauty and friendly nature of the people,” he said.
“The high literacy rate, scenic beauty and availability of large English-speaking population in Mizoram make for a perfect blend to develop the state as a model tourist destination,” said the Prime Minister.