Shillong: Minister of State for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Shri B.L Verma today, while addressing the ‘Conclave on Investment Potential and Future Energy Needs of North East’ in Shillong, Meghalaya highlighted the central government’s efforts in realizing the potential of the North Eastern Region (NER)..
The Minister attended the conclave that was held as part of the week-long North East Festival under the banner of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav at North Eastern Council (NEC), Shillong. Reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to the development of NER, he said, “North East, which was termed as India’s Gateway of Freedom by Netaji, is now becoming the Gateway to fulfill the dreams of New India. We are working towards realizing the potential of this region.”
The Minister stressed the central government’s commitment to accelerate socio-economic development in NER and apprised of the Gross Budget Support (GBS) allocated to the region. “All the Ministries/Departments are required to spend 10 percent of the Gross Budget Support (GBS) from their allocation for the benefit of the North Eastern Region. This effort reflects the government’s special focus on developing the NER,” he said. He added that with the 10 percent GBS allocation, the annual budget (revised estimate) for the NE States has increased manifolds since 2014-15.
Shri B.L Verma impressed upon the various infrastructural initiatives taken to aid progress in NE since 2014 and said, “In order to address the issue of connectivity in this region, the government initiated a slew of infrastructural projects related to air, railways, roads, waterways, energy, telecommunications, etc. Today, rail connectivity has reached Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, which was earlier, limited to Guwahati and five more projects are in line.” The Minister also apprised of the fact that the length of the National Highways has increased from 10, 905 km in 2014-15 to 13,710 km presently.
Speaking on the development on the air connectivity front, the Minister added the recently inaugurated airport at Holongi in Arunachal Pradesh will be completed by August 2022. It will add to the existing fifteen big and small airports in the Northeast.
The Minister added that with the aid of the Universal Service Obligation Fund under the Department of Telecommunications around 5600 villages are being connected through a network of 4404 towers with an expense of Rs 3715 Crore. Additionally, with the aim to improve the state of the power sector in this region the Government has spent an amount of Rs 10,003 crore since 2014-15, he added. The Minister took mentioned the major ongoing projects viz, the 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh- Assam with an estimated cost of Rs 19,992 crore and the North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP) at an estimated cost of Rs. 6,700 crore in the six beneficiary states, namely, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.
The Minister also mentioned the new scheme, Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East, PM-DevINE was announced by the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, while presenting the Union Budget 2022-23. An initial allocation of Rs. 1,500 crore will be made for the new scheme. It will fund infrastructure, in the spirit of PM GatiShakti, and social development projects based on the felt needs of the North-East. This will enable livelihood activities for youth and women, filling the gaps in various sectors, the Minister explained.
During his address at the ‘Conclave on Investment Potential and Future Energy Needs of North East’, Shri Verma also stated that the NER has the potential of generating more than 128,000 megawatts of renewable energy.
Shri B.L Verma expressed his hope that the infrastructural projects that are underway in the region would help attract private investors to boost Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).
The ‘Conclave on Investment Potential and Future Energy Needs of North East’ is part of MDoNER’s week-long North East Festival to commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The aim is to leverage discussions on various aspects fundamental to the development of the North East region.
The conclave was attended by Smti R. V. Suchiang, Chief Secretary, Meghalaya, Shri K. M. Chalai, Secretary, NEC, Shri K. V. Pratap, Senior Economic Adviser, Ministry of DoNER among others.
The highlight of the conclave included presentations by individual ministries on their projects and their thinking for the future. The individual ministries are the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Power, Civil Aviation, Telecom, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and Railways.
The Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – North East Festival will be celebrated from 28th April 2022 till 4th May 2022. Each of the seven days will be based on separate themes. The culmination of the week will be celebrated at a Valedictory event to be held in Guwahati, Assam on the 4th of May. The programme will be graced by the presence of the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind.