North-East Projected As Investment Destination

Tea plantations, one of the many avenues for investment.

Projecting northeast as an attractive investment destination and setting 2017 as target year to bring all state capitals under railway and air network besides launching several social sector projects were some of initiatives taken by Centre in 2010 to speed up development in the long-sequestered region.

With lack of connectivity posing as a major hindrance in the economic growth of the region, the Centre also focused on improving the road network in the northeast, particularly in the bordering areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.

Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) B K Handique said Railways have undertaken the ambitious project to link all capital cities in the area at an estimated cost of Rs 17,000 crores by 2017.

Till now, there is rail connectivity in Assam and some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

The government also decided to set up a green field airport in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar while another airport has been planned for Kohima in Nagaland.

Both the state capitals do not have aerial connectivity. Although most of the states have air link with major cities in the country, the network among the states was not satisfactory.

The ministry also made concerted efforts to showcase the region as an attractive investment destination and a seven-member team of ambassadors and high commissioners from South East Asian countries visited Manipur at the invitation of the ministry.

The team explored potential areas of investment and assessed the ground situation for opening international trade to South East Asian countries via Manipur.

DoNER ministry, which in 2009 had decided to launch a dedicated regional airline for the region, failed to get any response from private airlines even if subsidy was offered by Government for an exclusive “intra-state” operation for the eight states.

The railway project to link the state capitals has been undertaken as proposed in the Vision Document 2020, a blueprint for overall development of the region.

DoNER followed the roadmap suggested in the ‘Vision Document’ which identified specific goals for key sectors and envisaged an ambitious strategy to ensure overall socio-economic development of the region.

The DoNER Ministry has sanctioned Rs 703 crores to the northeastern states since February to improve various arterial roads and finalized another project at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crores to build 522 km of roads in the region.

(Courtesy: Press Trust of India)

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