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Shah attends NEC session, mum on state’s demands

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Shillong, Jan 19: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday did not utter a single word specific to Meghalaya during the 71st plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) held at the State Convention Centre here.
He also did not say anything on Assam’s boundary disputes with some states. His speech, primarily, revolved around the initiatives and achievements of the BJP-led NDA government in the past 10 years.
Shah, who did not speak to the media, was in and out of the session and eventually, left the venue, accompanied by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The Home Minister had to attend a scheduled programme in Tezpur.
In his address, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma also did not mention anything either on the demand for the implementation of inner line permit (ILP) or the inclusion of the Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
Most Chief Ministers and Governors of the states in the Northeast lauded the Centre’s developmental initiatives in the region. Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey and Chief Minister N Biren Singh did not attend the session given the prevailing volatile situation in the state.
Shah said the last 10 years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been the most significant for the development of the Northeast in the 75 years since independence.
He said during the period, not only the distance from Northeast to Delhi and the rest of India has reduced due to the creation of infrastructure, but the “difference of hearts” has also reduced.
He said the Northeast, which was struggling with various ethnic, linguistic, border and extremist groups-related problems, has also got the beginning of a fresh and durable era of peace in these 10 years.
Shah said if these 10 years for the Northeast are compared with the 75 years after the country’s independence, then this decade will definitely be considered as the golden period of the Northeast. He said the BJP always considered the Northeast as an important part of India.
The Home Minister said the NEC has increased the pace of development of the region by providing a policy-related platform to all the states and simplifying the solutions to their problems.
He said in the past 50 years, more than 12,000 kilometres of roads have been constructed in this region, 700 MW power plants have been established and many institutes of national excellence have also been established under the guidance of NEC.
Shah added that under Modi’s leadership, the role and scope of NEC has been increased under the Act East Policy.
He said in the last few years, the Modi government achieved significant success in solving the problems of law and order, insurgency and borders in the region.
“Along with this, work has also been done to promote the use of technology in administration by using North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC),” he said.
He was confident that the language, culture, food, attire and  natural beauty of the Northeast will give a great boost to the region in global tourism.
Shah recalled that when Modi had attended the NEC’s plenary session in 2016, it was for the first time after 40 years that the PM of the country was presiding over this meeting. He said Modi visited the Northeast more than 50 times in the last 10 years and made the priorities of the government very clear to the entire country.
He said Union Ministers have also visited the region more than 500 times. The central government, he continued, has not only worked to enrich the pride, languages, culture, literature, music, costumes and food of the Northeast but has also worked towards giving entire India an opportunity to get acquainted with these features.
The Home Minister said the Modi government has also taken many steps to establish peace and stability in the Northeast.
He said altogether 11,121 violent incidents took place in the Northeast from 2004 to 2014 but the incidents declined by 73 per cent to 3,114 from 2014 to 2023. He said deaths of security personnel dropped by 71 per cent from 458 to 132, while civilian deaths declined by 86 per cent.
Shah said insurgency-related incidents dropped because more than 8 900 members of militant groups surrendered in the last 5 years and joined the mainstream. He said this has given a message to the entire country that peace and prosperity are inter-connected and without them the states cannot develop.
He added that to bring peace and stability in the Northeast, the Modi government signed nine agreements and through these, many pending issues related to law and order were successfully resolved.
He said barring in some parts of Assam and Manipur, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been withdrawn from 75 per cent of the areas in the region.
The Home Minister said the Modi government allocated Rs 4,800 crore from the year 2022-23 to 2025-26 for the Northeast and there is an increase of about 162 per cent in the budget. He said the 10 per cent Gross Budgetary Support Scheme has greatly benefited the development of the region.
An allocation of Rs 1,500 crore has been made in PM-DevINE (Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North Eastern Region) for 2022-23 and Rs 6,600 crore for 2025-26, he said.
He also said that the Modi government has invested Rs 81,000 crore in railways and Rs 48,000 crore in road connectivity. He said 5,196 Km long roads have been constructed in the Northeast under the Bharat Mala project while under the UDAN scheme, eight new airports have been constructed and 71 new air routes have been started.
The Home Minister said that an inter-ministerial task force has been formed for agriculture while eight ropeways have been taken up under the National Ropeway Development Programme. He said the budget of the DoNER Ministry has increased by 153 per cent.

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