NE will become favourite destination of youth, RS told

NE will become favourite destination of youth, RS told

NEW DELHI, Jan 4: With the Union Government initiatives like UDAN-Regional Connectivity Scheme and rail connectivity, the day is not far when the North Eastern region will become the favourite destination for the young, Union Minister of State for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

“With the Government’s Start-up, Stand-up policies and venture funding for which a corpus of Rs 1000 crore had been set aside with North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi), the day is not far when NE will become a favourite destination for the youth,’’ he said during Question Hour.

Replying to questions on the connectivity of state capitals in the North-East, the Minister said the Government had taken several initiatives for basic infrastructure development and providing road, rail, water, telecom and air connectivity in the North-Eastern region.

A green-field airport had been constructed in Pakyong in Sikkim, suitable for operation of ATR-72 type of aircraft. The Airports Authority of India had developed the Tezu airport in Arunachal Pradesh.

There is a proposal to construct a new airport in Arunachal Pradesh for which the State Government had been requested details of land acquisition and cost involved.

The Minister said that the Ministry had provided funds to AAI through RCS for upgradation of facilities in the airports and for meeting the viability gap to incentivize air operations.

Singh said work was on to meet the target of connecting all North-Eastern state capitals with rail links by 2022.

While earlier only Guwahati was on broad gauge, Agartala had been recently connected with broad gauge railway.

Broad gauge network had also reached Mizoram and Manipur in 2016-17 and works on providing board gauge to locations near Imphal and Aizawal were at different stages of execution. Work on providing broad gauge connectivity to Kohima had also been taken up.

Work up to Rangpo, 40 km short of Gangtok, had been sanctioned. Itanagar had been provided with broad gauge connectivity by commissioning new line from Harmuti to Naharlagun.

He said rail link to Shillong had been sanctioned but work has been stalled due to local issues.

To a query on whether the NE Industrial Promotion Policy had been suspended, he said it was still on, restrictions of finance.

However, when the Minister attempted to elaborate further, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked him to send details to the member who had raised the query.

“The Ministers need not react to every observation made by members,’’ he observed. (UNI)

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