File photograph: Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 23 said that peace has been established in the Northeast region, asserting that the region has the potential to become India’s growth engine.

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“Road blockades have become a part of history in Manipur, the decades old violence in Assam has ended. In Mizoram and Tripura, youth also have deserted the path of violence and the Bru-Reang refugees (belonging to Mizoram) are now heading for a better life,” the prime minister said after laying the foundation stone of the Manipur water supply project via video link from Delhi.

He said that the government has been making constant efforts to further develop the region and connectivity and other infrastructure, including highways, railways and airports. “The laying of the foundation stone for the vital water supply project is an example of the fact that despite the abnormal situation triggered by the novel coronavirus, the government has not stopped working for the development and growth,” Modi said.

An externally-funded Manipur Water Supply Project is designed to provide Freshwater Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) to remaining households in Greater Imphal planning area, 25 towns and to 1,731 rural habitations, covering 2,80,756 households in 16 districts.

The prime minister said: “Until a vaccine is developed to cure COVID-19, we have to robustly fight against the virus and the developmental works also to be carried forward vigorously.”

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Saying that better life is also directly linked to connectivity, he said that the connectivity of Northeast is essential for a secure and sure “Atmanirbhar Bharat”. He said this would give a fillip to India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and that it would also provide a gateway to the country’s travel and tourism sector. The prime minister said that modern infrastructures are being developed in the northeast along with roadways, highways, airways, waterways and i-ways as well as gas pipelines.

“In the last six years, thousands of crores of rupees have been invested in the development of infrastructure, in the entire Northeast,” he said.

“Efforts have been made to connect the four capitals of the northeastern states, two lane roads to the district headquarters and all weather roads to the villages. To achieve this, about 3,000 km of roads have been laid and projects are being implemented to lay another 60,000 km of roads,” the prime minister added.

He said there is a huge improvement in the area of rail connectivity in the Northeast with projects to build new railway stations and convert the existing rail network into broad gauge.

“The work of connecting the capitals of every state of the northeast with a rail network is going on at a fast pace for the last two years. Apart from roads and railways, the air connectivity of Northeast is equally important. Today there are about 13 operational airports in the Northeast. More than 3 thousand crore rupees are being spent to modernise the existing airports in the Northeast including Imphal airport,” he said.

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