GUWAHATI, July 9: Attending the 67th plenary of the North Eastern Council (NEC) on Monday, Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi observed that notwithstanding the chicken’s neck syndrome of the Northeast, NEC should look for ways and means to develop connectivity of the region with rest of the country and other ASEAN and BBN countries through airways and waterways, besides roadways.
The NEC plenary was held with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the chair at State Convention Centre in Shillong.
“The Plenary is an opportunity for all of us to review the state of development of the region and decide our strategies for the years to come. I’m positive that the deliberations during this plenary meeting and the decisions reached by the Council would help in achieving even more meaningful contribution towards faster socio-economic development of the North Eastern Region (NER),” a Raj Bhawan release quoted Prof. Mukhi as saying. He further said that the region is a unique mix of rich natural resources which has enormous potentials to develop and prosper as one of the developed regions in the country.
Prof. Mukhi called upon the Ministry of DoNER to pay adequate attention and draw up an action plan for positioning the Northeast as the springboard for India’s Act East Policy. He also maintained that developing trade, transport and economic links with Bangladesh is very important for most of the States of the region and needs greater focus.
Prof. Mukhi said that Assam is geo-strategically located in the Northeast and Guwahati is the gateway to the north-eastern region. All the north-eastern states have received benefits, directly or indirectly from the existing infrastructure of Assam, especially in Guwahati. He, therefore, requested the Ministry of DoNER of conceiving a project of making Guwahati the Kunming of India which can stimulate the growth of other north-eastern states as vibrant region to take nation’s Act East to its logical conclusion. He also requested the Ministry of DoNER to impress upon the Ministries of Home and External Affairs to initiate talks with their counterparts of ASEAN countries to set up their consulates in Guwahati to enable the people of the Northeast to get their work done in Guwahati itself without going to New Delhi.
Stating the lack of adequate job opportunity in the region which is responsible for ‘brain drain’ in huge number, Prof. Mukhi called upon the NEC to come up with appropriate schemes to promote investment in suitable sectors to create jobs for the youths in the region. He also requested the NEC to take pragmatic steps for skill development of the farmers to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
The two-day Plenary will have various presentations on issues related to all-round development of the region, besides discussing continuation of NEC schemes till March, 2020 as approved by the Union Cabinet in March 2018. The Plenary will conclude on Tuesday.