Northeast development will be based on HIRA: NITI Aayog

Agartala : NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajeev Kumar on Tuesday said that focus of development projects in the northeast region will be based on the concept of Highways, Inland Waterways, Railways and Airways (HIRA) as spelled out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the first meeting of the ‘NITI Forum for North East’ held here, Kumar said that emphasis will be made on education, health and skill development in the region.

He added that horticulture, tourism, food processing, use of bamboo and ‘Made in North-East’ will be developed through five mission mode projects in a time-bound manner.

The meeting, organised by the NITI Aayog, Ministry of DoNER and the North Eastern Council (NEC), was co-chaired by the Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, Rajeev Kumar and the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Jitendra Singh.

Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma, Deputy Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Chowna Mein also participated in the day-long deliberations.

Further, senior ministers, chief secretaries and senior officers of the central ministries and state governments were also present.

Jitendra Singh said that there has been a significant 21 percent rise in fund utilisation in the north-east region during the last three years.

“The government has focused on development in a region which more or less remained out of the mainstream for the last seven decades since Independence. There has been a significant 21 percent rise in fund utilisation in the north-east during the last three years. The central government has now committed full 100 percent funding for development projects in the north east region, as against 90-10 ratio earlier, with the state governments funding 10 percent of the total cost,” Singh said.

Nagaland Chief Minister Rio pointed out that Kohima is the only state capital in the north-east which does not have an airport.

He said that the state government has acquired land for this purpose and at least one small airstrip at Kohima should be constructed for providing air connectivity to Nagaland under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Sangma said that development is the solution for all socio-economic problems in the region and through infrastructure and connectivity, many development problems can be solved.

He said that the National Games – 2022 will be held in Meghalaya, which will coincide with the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence.

Sangma added that economic challenges of the north-east can be met by removing the physical and economic barriers.

Chief Minister of Tripura Deb thanked the Prime Minister for giving Tripura an opportunity to host this prestigious event.

He said that the state bordering with Bangladesh from three sides imports more than Rs. 300 crores annually from Bangladesh but exports a meager Rs. 4.6 crores.

Deb said that certain provisions prohibit export of rubber from Tripura, but the same is routed through West Bengal.

He asserted that Tripura has immense potential in fisheries as the state has the world’s best climate suitable for aquaculture, but this has not been exploited.

Representatives of all eight member states of the north-east gave their valuable suggestions on ‘Moving towards a prosperous North East Region’, the theme for today’s meeting.

Secretary, DoNER, Naveen Verma and Secretary, NEC, Ram Muivah explained the status of different development projects in the region.

The ‘NITI Forum for North East’ was constituted in February 2018 with an aim to ensure sustainable economic growth of the north eastern region of the country and periodically review the development status in the area. (ANI)