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North east leaders miffed over reduction of funds

June 28, 2012 22:54 IST

The chief ministers and the governors of the north eastern state have expressed dissatisfaction over the 'continuous reduction' of budget allocations of the North Eastern Council in the successive five-year plan.

A delegation of the chief ministers headed by the NEC Chairman and the DoNER Minister Mr Paban Singh Ghatowar met the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and expressed their resentments over the issue on Wednesday evening.

The DoNER Minister Mr Ghatowar on Thursday in a crowded press conference announced that the NEC has got a plan outlay of Rs 770 crore for the financial year 2012-13.

The NEC was created by the Indian government for bringing all round development of the north eastern region recognizing region's unique situation and potential for development.

Wednesday's NEC meeting witnessed serious resentments by many NEC members for 'non cooperation and step motherly attitude towards the region while allocating funds for various development projects'.

Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla expressed resentments for 'keeping his officials in the dark' while finalising the draft annual plan by the NEC. "This will adversely affect the development process in the region," he observed.

Wednesday's NEC meeting held in the national capital tabled a comprehensive report containing nine tourism circuits in the region, and action reports of the Railways, the Roads and Highways and Civil Aviation.

The Railways report stated that till 1st April, this year the region got a rail line length of total 3,908 km which comprises of 2,497 km broad gauge, 1,324 km meter gauge and 87 km narrow gauge.

The report also informed the NEC members that the Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) 13 km new line and Lumding-Hojai-Patch doubling of 45 km are being taken up during the current financial year.

Projects already surveyed and pending with Planning Commission for approval include (a) the 58 km Barpeta Road for Rs 520 crore, (b) 344 km Chaparmukh- Dibrugarh via Salona, Khumtai, for Rs 3,491 crore, (c) Dangri-Dhola for 48 crore, (d) 257 km Dimapur Tizit for Rs 4274 crore, (e) 18 km Dullabchera-Cheragi for Rs 110 crore, (f) 20 km LalabazarVairengte for 364 crore, (g) 98 km Rupai-Parashuramkund via Mahadeva, Namsai, Chingkham for 1,289 crore, (h) 9 km Tuli line- Tuli town for 109 crore.

This apart the meeting decided that three hubs for parking big aircrafts to be set up in Agartala, Guwahati and Imphal. Besides, night landing facilities including upgradation work will be taken up.

The Nagaland Chief Minister has asked for the construction of a new airport in Kohima. He also informed the meeting that the airport project is pending with the NEC. Similarly, the Arunachal Pradesh CM also suggested upgradation of the Lilabari airport to a full-fledged airport.

The Meghalaya deputy chief minister demanded construction of big airport in Shillong and direct flights between Delhi and Shillong. The Mizoram CM wanted the airport authority to take over the Lengpui airport and upgrade the same for landing of bigger aircraft.

DoNER Minister Mr Ghatowar stated that 'a new project 'Youth to the Edge' was launched where youths from the rest of India are exposed first hand to north east and same exercise will also be carried out for youths of the region by sending them to different parts of the country.

Both sides will have a clear knowledge of the culture, food and lifestyle of various parts of India through this close interaction.

The NEC will develop nine tourist circuits covering all the eight states of the region. A comprehensive report prepared with the help of Tata Consultancy Service has been tabled, Ghatowar disclosed. Besides, North East cultural programme will be held in the national capital time to time as a part of awareness campaign, the minister added.  
Madhumita Chakraborty/ Vision Communications