61st North East Council focuses on improving connectivity, power generation
New Delhi, July 9 (ANI): The 61st North East Council meeting recently concluded in New Delhi with a main focus on improving connectivity, power generation and development in the region.
The Department of the North East Region (DoNER) Ministry is planning to provide a subsidy to airlines that will fly on North East routes, as it wants to improve air connectivity in the North East.
Airports in Imphal, Agartala and Dibrugarh are also being upgraded and passenger traffic has increased.
The central government aims to connect the North East region with rest of India by air, road and rail.
The region has a 3908-km-long rail network, of which 2497 kilometers is broad gauge, 1324 kilometers is meter gauge and 87 kilometers is narrow gauge.
Many railway projects are under way and several others are waiting for approval.
Trains from all major cities stop at Guwahati.
The government is using flagship programs like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to construct a large network of concrete roads to improve connectivity in the region.
During 2011-12, the DoNER ministry released Rupees 693 crores for implementation of various projects that would help to improve connectivity in the region.
DoNER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar said: "Connectivity is the main problem in Northeast because we are away from our mainland. We have discussed about it sector wise and with the specific ministries also. We want to complete the ongoing projects so that new projects can be taken up for improving connectivity in North East."
After connectivity, power generation is the second most important area of concern for the North East.
It is working on setting both gas-based and hydropower projects in the region.
The 726-megawatt Palantana Power Project is due to be commissioned this year and will generate excess electricity for Tripura, which would be traded with Bangladesh.
Several hydropower projects are lined up in Arunachal Pradesh and several are running in Sikkim that will generate a large amount of electricity.
According to Ghatowar, the North East has the capacity to produce 50,000-megawatt of power.
"Northeast India is the hub of hydropower production in India. The resource needs to be harnessed well, and there is a prospect of nearly 50,000-megawatt of production from the region."
The decline in insurgent activity has been a key reason for the region's speedy development. Today, the law and order situation and security-related delays in projects have largely reduced. (ANI)
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