Earlier this month, Congress prince Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to take his customary dig at the central government. Unlike his usual rhetoric of smearing fake accusations, Rahul talked about the unity of the country. However, in doing so, he eliminated the Northeast region of the country and faced the wrath of several leaders of the region.
You see, for Rahul, India only existed from Gujarat to West Bengal. And to be honest, it is not his problem. For 75 years, the critical geopolitical region of the North East has been meted a step-motherly treatment by Congress. It neglected the region and left it unprotected for foreign powers to assert dominance and control.
However, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm of affairs, that treatment has changed. PM Modi takes enormous pride in the development of the North East and calls it an integral part of India.
Will transform Arunachal into a gateway to South East Asia
As a result, on the 36th statehood day celebration of Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday (February 20), PM Modi remarked that it is his vision to transform the state into a gateway to South East Asia.
PM Modi said, “I firmly believe that eastern India, and especially Northeast India, will be the engine of the country’s growth in the 21st century. With this spirit, unprecedented work has been done in the last 7 years to accelerate the development of Arunachal Pradesh. We will transform Arunachal Pradesh into a major gateway to South East Asia,”
The prime minister praised Arunachal Pradesh for promoting the feeling of patriotism and social harmony. He paid tributes to martyrs from the state who laid down their lives for the country. “Be it the Anglo-Abor war or the security of the border after Independence, the tales of valour of the people of Arunachal Pradesh is a priceless heritage for every Indian,”
He noted that Arunachal Pradesh is progressing in harmony with nature and culture. “Due to your efforts, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most important areas of biodiversity,”
Manipur got its first goods train last month
PM Modi and his government has been working at a breakneck speed to assimilate the entire North East into the mainstream. Last month, for the first time after independence, a goods train reached Manipur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter tagging a post of Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy, “Transformation of the Northeast continues. Manipur’s connectivity will be enhanced and commerce will be boosted. Wonderful products from the state can travel all over the nation,”
Transformation of the Northeast continues.
Manipur’s connectivity will be enhanced and commerce will be boosted. Wonderful products from the state can travel all over the nation. https://t.co/TjS6oulZqj
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 29, 2022
The freight train arrived at the Rani Gaidinliu station in the north-eastern state on January 27, days after a passenger train from Silchar in Assam reached the Bongaichungpao railway station in Manipur.
In the same month, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw did an aerial survey of the Jiribam-Imphal new line project in Manipur. The project, which includes the country’s longest train tunnel, will connect Imphal with Guwahati. He said that ₹ 7,000 crores has been allocated this year for ongoing railway projects in the northeast.
PM Modi and his vision for North East
PM Modi and his vision regarding the North East has been crystal clear. Early into his tenure, he had declared, “If the western region of the country can develop, if other regions of the country can develop, I see no reason why the North East region of the country cannot develop. I am also convinced that India can move forward if all the regions develop including the North East region.”
He further added, “The North East region is also very important to us for strategic reasons. And it is my conviction that we have to bring this region at par with the other developed regions of the country.”
The states of Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur which covered a journey of 50 years last month, however, have only seen unprecedented development over the past eight years.
In 2017, for instance, PM Modi inaugurated the Shillong-Nongstoin-Rongjeng-Tura road in Meghalaya. The Prime Minister had then said, “This road will serve as an east-west corridor. It will boost economic activity and establish a direct link between the important towns of the state, Shillong and Tura. Travel time will be significantly reduced. Our motto is ‘Transformation by transportation’.”
In the case of Manipur and Tripura, developmental works are moving at an impressive pace. Only recently, the Prime Minister inaugurated and laid the foundation of 22 developmental projects worth more than Rs 4,800 crore in Imphal.
He also inaugurated the New Integrated Terminal Building at Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport in Agartala apart from launching two development initiatives.
PM Modi is devoting several thousand crores of rupees towards building key roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the Northeast. The plan is to build robust transportation infrastructure in the Northeast and to connect the region with the rest of the country in a seamless manner.
This is in line with boosting the tourism economy of the region and ensuring that the Northeast is no longer treated as an isolated region.
The Northeast had been neglected for far too long in the previous UPA regimes but the Narendra Modi government has made a conscious effort to assimilate the seven sisters into the mainstream. Although it is a sad realisation that decades after independence, the states had to wait for the Modi government to turn up and transform the infrastructure.