The northeast has the potential to become India's growth engine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, noting that peace is now being established in the entire region.
He made these remarks at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Manipur water supply project via video link.
While blockades have become a part of history in Manipur, the era of decades of violence in Assam has ceased.
In Tripura and Mizoram too, youth have abandoned the path of violence and the Bru-Reang refugees are now moving towards a better life, he said in his address.
The prime minister noted that the government is making constant efforts to improve connectivity in the northeast region, be its highways, laying of rail tracks or upgradation of airports.
The foundation stone laying programme, the prime minister said, is an example of the fact that even during the crisis triggered by the novel coronavirus, the country has not stopped working.
Till the time a vaccine is developed, we have to vigorously fight against coronavirus and the development works should also be carried forward with full force, he said.
Referring to the "aatma nirbhar Bharat abhiyan" (self-reliant India campaign), the prime minister said now clusters are being developed for value addition and marketing in local products. In these clusters, all the facilities will be given to agro startups and other industries.
He said the northeast has the potential to replace India's bamboo import with local production.
There is a huge demand for incense sticks in the country, but for this, India imports bamboo worth crores of rupees, he lamented.
A lot of work, Modi pointed out, is being done to change this situation.
He said a huge investment is being made under the National Bamboo Mission. This will benefit the youth of the northeast, and the startups here.
Many institutes are now being set up for health, education, skill development and startups.
With the formation of sports university and world class stadia, Manipur is becoming a major hub for the country's sports talent, he observed.
Speaking on the water supply project, the prime minister said it is a big day for lakhs of people of Manipur, including Imphal, as it will reduce the water problems faced by them.
He said women will especially benefit as they won't have to travel for kilometres to fetch clean water.
The project has been designed keeping in mind needs of the next 20-22 years and lakhs of people will get access to clean drinking water, while thousands will get employment, he said.
An externally funded project, the Manipur water supply project was designed to provide freshwater household tap connections to remaining households in Greater Imphal planning area, and for 1,731 rural habitations covering 2,80,756 households in all 16 districts of Manipur.
The project outlay is Rs 3,054.58 crore, with a loan component funded by the New Development Bank.