In the last five years, Modi government made tremendous efforts to improve the infrastructure in the Northeast region of the country. The development projects under Modi government include two bridges on Brahmaputra River apart from the opening of the broad gauge railway line which connects the Barak Valley of South Assam with the rest of India.
The strengthening of infrastructure in the Northeast is very important for security purpose as well as for the benefit of the local population. When India fought the 1962 Indo-China war, we had no existing infrastructure for easy movement of armed forces. Even after losing the war, successive governments made very little efforts to develop the region due to heavy cost and difficulties in it.
Modi government spent an enormous amount of social, political and economic capital for the betterment of Northeast. The government also asked friendly countries for help to enhance the connectivity in the Northeast region. The result of such efforts became fruitful when the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) agreed to invest 13,000 crore rupees to support ongoing and new projects in the region.
“After a meeting between Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh and a Japanese delegation led by Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu in New Delhi on Wednesday, it was officially disclosed that the Japan Government is to invest Rs. 13,000 crore in several ongoing and new projects in different Northeastern states of India,” the statement said.
As per reports, the projects expected to get JICA support are Guwahati Water Supply Project and Guwahati Sewage Project in Assam, Northeast Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project spread over Assam and Meghalaya, Northeast Network Connectivity Improvement Project in Meghalaya, Bio-diversity Conservation and Forest Management Project in Sikkim, Sustainable Forest Management Project in Tripura, Technical Cooperation Project for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation in Mizoram and Forest Management Project in Nagaland.
Earlier, Tripura had received Rs. 1,364 crore from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The amount was received in two phases for the promotion of forest-based livelihood of the tribals and other backward people and value addition of non-timber forest produces. The JICA had also extended soft loan worth Rs. 4,000 crores for the development of two National Highways (NH 54 and NH 51) in Mizoram and Meghalaya.
Recently, the Japanese Ambassador to India visited the Northeastern states of Mizoram and Tripura and met the Chief Ministers – Zoramthanga and Biplab Kumar Deb – and discussed various developmental issues.
The Northeast has always been a neglected region of the country. Rich in biodiversity and culture, the region has been a hotbed of insurgency and conflict. Previous regimes have always looked the other way as far as development in the region is concerned. China has always had a keen interest in the region. Apart from aiding separatist elements in the Northeast with arms and ammunition, the country has been claiming Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.
Earlier China had announced a plan to build a massive dam on a tributary of Yarlung Zangbo (Tibetan name of Brahmaputra River) and it is supposed to be the most expensive hydel project in the world. China plans to assert its claim over Arunachal Pradesh by building a dam over Brahmaputra’s tributary.
India could give a befitting reply to China only if it has a solid infrastructure in the region for movement of its armed forces to fight the mighty Chinese forces. The infrastructure development in the region is also important from the civilian point of view, as it will make the life of people in the regions a bit easier. The people in the Northeastern region live in a very difficult condition, therefore, investment by government is necessary. The infrastructure development in the region will also promote tourism in the region which will bring economic prosperity of people living in Northeastern states.
The Modi government is very much committed towards development of Northeast. The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) is there to look after the implementation of projects aimed towards the Northeastern region. The previous governments feared from developing infrastructure in the Northeast due to massive difficulties faced at the Brahmaputra riverfront but Modi government has opened three bridges and planned five more. Brahmaputra River is no longer a hindrance in the development of Northeast India.