Article 371 would not be removed from Northeast ever; said Mr Amit Shah in Itaanagar

New Delhi, Feb 21: “People from different states of India have different ways of greeting each other, but only Arunachalis greet each other with ‘Jai Hind’, which is a shining example of patriotic fervour for the rest of India”, said Shri Amit Shah, Union Minister for Home Affairs while presiding over the 34th Statehood Day celebrations of Arunachal Pradesh, in Itanagar today.

The Home Minister inaugurated a bouquet of projects and schemes for the State, including Launch of Arunachal Pradesh Industrial and Investment Policy 2020; Laying of Foundation stone for Police Headquarters at Itanagar; construction of new apartments for MLAs and residential complexes for senior government officers in Chimpu, worth over Rs. 140 crores.

Façade lighting of AP Civil secretariat complex, Joram-Koloriang road of BRO falling under Lower Subansiri, 256-slice CT Scanner at TRIHMS, Naharlagun and Inter-state truck terminal near ISBT, Naharlagun; flagging off of 148 Sanitation Vehicles for all Urban towns of Arunachal Pradesh.

Cleanest Village awards were also given away to seven villages of Norbuling, Natun Kheti, Yaglung, Tikhak Taipi, Singchung, Namet and Nongtaw Shyam. Expressing confidence that the launch of Arunachal Pradesh industrial and investment policy 2020 will boost economic growth in the State, Shri Shah said that with this fast paced growth Arunachal will play an important role in achieving Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of India becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2024.

Talking about the strategic and cultural importance of the Northeast for India, the Home Minister said that India’s culture and heritage is incomplete and handicapped without the culture of different tribes of this region. Before 2014, Northeast was integrated only on geographical and administrative terms with the rest of India.

It was only after Shri Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister that the Northeast developed an emotional connect with the rest of India and there is no difference between the two now.

He added that every Indian believes that development of North East and its people is the prime responsibility of the whole country. Similarly, every citizen of the Northeast believes that the safety and security of the extensive border regions of the country in the Northeast is their responsibility.

Shri Shah noted that such an emotional connect with rest of India should have developed long ago, but Northeast was used only as an aid to form and bring down governments in the past. As soon as Shri Modi became the Prime Minister, the government took decisive steps for the development of this region, building it as an impregnable wall in ensuring the safety and security of the Nation and truly integrating its culture and tradition with that of the country.

He said that it was PM Modi who decided for the first time after independence that every fortnight a Union Minister would visit the Northeast and review the development works on the ground.

The Home Minister expressed pride that till now Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed over 200 visits by Union Ministers in the last 5 years. This includes over 30 visits by the Prime Minister himself to the Northeast, which was unheard of till now and has thus brought the focus of development to the region, he added.

Talking about PM’s vision of connecting Northeast, especially Arunachal, with the country, Shri Shah said that Government of India is committed to safeguard the fundamental rights, culture, heritage and traditions of all the 27 tribes and over 120 sub tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.

He also pointed out that after the removal of article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir a lot of rumour-mongering happened in Northeast that article 371 would also be removed. “On this statehood day of Arunachal and Mizoram, I want to assure the people that article 371 would not be removed from the North East. Such rumours are only a ploy to drive a wedge between the Northeast and rest of the country. We would not let such mischievous things succeed ever”, he said.

Talking about the government’s efforts to bring a lasting solution to the lingering problems of the Northeast, the Home Minister said that before the Modi government came to power, Northeast was identified with insurgency, extremism, separatism, blockades, corruption, ethnical tensions, drugs and arms trafficking.

The region is now famous in the whole world for its infrastructure development, connectivity, a boost to sports, Act East policy and organic farming. The bold steps taken by the government included the India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement, ending of the Manipur blockade, solution to the Bru-Reang ethnic crisis to bring them to mainstream; surrender of over 8 armed groups with 644 cadres in Assam and ending the Bodo issue by signing an agreement and giving a developmental package of over Rs. 1500 crores for the Bodo people.

Such developments would bring lasting peace and development to the Northeast under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, he said. Talking about the steps taken by the government for strengthening of national security, Shri Shah cited construction of ITBP border posts and headquarters, along with the construction of NDRF battalion headquarters, among others.

The Home Minister informed that during the Modi regime the developmental budget allocation for the Northeast in the Finance Commission (FC) saw a sharp rise of over 200% during the 14th FC, as compared to the 13th FC.

In addition, there has been a rise of 24% in union budget allocation, a 65% rise in the DoNER Ministry budget and in the last 5 years, 477 new projects worth over Rs. 3500 crore have become operational in the Northeast.

Shri Shah also informed that in a recent decision, 33% of the NEC budget would be allocated for the development of backward villages that are still deprived of facilities like toilets, electricity, roads, LPG and drinking water.

Taking about other developments, he said that National bamboo would be a harbinger of growth in Northeast. In the last 3 years, over Rs. 32000 crore have been allocated and 1200 kms of National Highways, out of the sanctioned 3800 kms, have been completed; 900km railway track has been converted to broad gauge.

Tripura Sundari express started between Agartala and Delhi; 5km long Bogibeel bridge inaugurated in Assam in 2018; over 2400km transmission lines laid; Doordarshan Arun Prabha channel started; Sports University in Manipur opened; developed Itanagar as a smart city; 1st Medical college in Arunachal opened; started Northeast Cultural and Information Centre in Delhi, among others.

“I want to assure the people of Northeast, including Arunachalis, that by 2020-21 all the capital cities in the region would be connected by air and road. In last 5 years, road infrastructure worth over Rs. 50000 crores has been developed by Modi government in Arunachal alone, as compared to Rs. 47000 crore in the preceding 25 years. Further, the Hollongi airport, which was stuck for last 12 years, is now being developed to bring Arunachal on the national aviation map”, he said.

Concluding his remarks, the Home Minister said that the Prime Minister is focussed on finding lasting solutions to the problems of the Northeast, including interstate issues, inter tribe issues, border disputes, extremism and insurgency. “Northeast would become ‘Samasya Mukt’ free of all problems by 2024. There would be no dispute, only a golden future for a developed Northeast. Arunachal, which is the Land of Rising Sun, would become the harbinger of growth for the entire region”, he said.

Other dignitaries gracing the occasion included Brig. (Retd.) Dr. B. D. Mishra, Hon’ble Governor, Arunachal Pradesh; Union MoS (I/C) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr. Jitendra Singh; MoS (I/C) for Youth and Sports Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju; CM, Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Pema Khandu; Chairman, NEC and Finance Minister, Assam, Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, among others.


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