Shillong: Union Minister of State for Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) B.L Verma on Friday voiced hope that the infrastructural projects that are underway in the North Eastern States would help attract private investors to boost Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).
Addressing the ‘Conclave on Investment Potential and Future Energy Needs of North East’ at North Eastern Council (NEC) headquarters here in Meghalaya, Verma underscored the Central government’s commitment to accelerate socio-economic development in the region and apprised of the Gross Budget Support allocated to the region.
“All the Ministries/Departments are required to spend 10 per cent of the Gross Budget Support from their allocation for the benefit of the North Eastern Region. This effort reflects the government’s special focus on developing the region,” he said.
With the 10 per cent GBS allocation, Verma said the annual budget (revised estimate) for the North Eastern States has increased manifolds since 2014-15. The ‘Conclave on Investment Potential and Future Energy Needs of North East’ is part of MDoNER’s week-long North East Festival to commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
The aim is to leverage discussions on various aspects fundamental to the development of the North East region. Reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment for the development of region, the Union Minister said, “North East, which was termed as India’s Gateway of Freedom by Netaji, is now becoming the Gateway to fulfill the dreams of New India…We are working towards realizing the potential of this region.”
Noting that the BJP government has initiated various infrastructural initiatives taken to aid progress in the North East since 2014, Verma said the government initiated a slew of infrastructural projects related to air, railways, roads, waterways, energy, telecommunications in order to address the issue of connectivity in this region.
“Today, rail connectivity has reached Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, which was earlier, limited to Guwahati and five more projects are in line,” the Union Minister said and apprised on the fact that the length of the National Highways has increased from 10, 905 km in 2014-15 to 13,710 km presently.
On the development on the air connectivity front, Verma said the recently inaugurated airport at Holongi in Arunachal Pradesh will be completed by August, 2022. It will add to the existing fifteen big and small airports in the Northeast.
The Minister added that with the aid of Universal Service Obligation Fund under the Department of Telecommunications around 5600 villages are being connected through a network of 4404 towers with an expense of Rs 3715 Crore.
Stating that the North Eastern States has the potential of generating more than 128,000 megawatt of renewable energy, the Union Minister said, the Government has spend an amount of Rs 10,003 crore since 2014-15 with the aim to improve the state of power sector in this region.
“The Government has spend an amount of Rs 10,003 crore since 2014-15,” he added.
The Minister took mention of the major ongoing projects viz, the 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh- Assam with an estimated cost of Rs 19,992 crore and the North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP) at an estimated cost of Rs. 6,700 crore in the six beneficiary states namely, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.
Under the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East (PM-DevINE), he said was announced by the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, while presenting the Union Budget 2022-23.
“An initial allocation of Rs. 1,500 crore will be made for the new scheme. It will fund infrastructure, in the spirit of PM GatiShakti, and social development projects based on felt needs of the North-East. This will enable livelihood activities for youth and women, filling the gaps in various sectors,” the Minister explained.