FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
ITAGAR, Sept 12: Terming illegal migrants as imminent challenge for the north eastern states, Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa on Friday said that ever increasing population of Bangladeshi immigrants has threatened the existence of indigenous people in the region.
Iugurated a two-day tiol semir on 'Issues, Challenges and Development of North East India with special reference to Aruchal Pradesh' at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), the governor expressed apprehension that indigenous population of the region would be swept off and become minority if illegal migration not checked.
Referring to the religious census report of 2011 which was released recently, Rajkhowa pointed out that the Muslim population in Assam went up by nearly 35 per cent during 2001-11 and number of Muslim majority districts gone up from six to nine during the period causing serious threat to the indigenous people, an official report informed.
The governor said that there are several major issues of the region including poor connectivity by air, road, railways and waterways, resulting in the region’s isolation from mainland India and the connectivity have to be improved for at par development with other parts of the country.
“Militants present in some regions of the state are disturbing the peace, creating law and order problems. While the recent pact of framework agreement between Centre and NSCN (IM) is welcomed by many, there is also strong opposition to any possible Greater galim by including territories of Aruchal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur,” he said.
“The Centre and the state government must work together for addressing livelihood problems of the people living in border regions,” he added.
In the social economic sector, he said the drug addiction and opium cultivation is a challenge faced by some of the states of the region.
“Government has to take appropriate action by establishing rehabilitation and de-addiction centers, providing altertive source of livelihood to the opium cultivators and also should create mass awareness amongst the younger generation,” he suggested.
With application of latest technologies and drawing from the experience of other countries, the governments must find permanent solution to perennial tural calamities like floods, erosion and landslides, he stressed.
The governor also suggested early constitution of the North Eastern Regiol Water Resources Development Authority, which was declared by Dr Manmohan Singh in 2004.
Pointing out that corruption is one of the major hurdles in the development process, the governor called for early appointment of Lok Ayukta in the state.
Stating unemployment as one of the social challenges, he mentioned that the state government had announced several programme for unemployed youths in entrepreneurship and said that banks and fincial institutions should provide assistance to the youth.
Citing the poor credit deposit of the state which stands at 21.3 percent compared to all India CD ratio of 78.1 per cent, Rajkhowa urged upon the fincial institutions to come forward in helping the people of the region to mitigate their challenges.
He also highlighted on potential areas and sectors for development and said that with higher CD ratio, micro, small and medium enterprises have huge scope to bring economic empowerment to the people.
“Handloom, handicraft, agriculture and its allied sectors have huge potential. The artistic expertise of the people of the State and region is unique and should be tapped by setting up handicraft centers,” he said.
The governor said that NE region can become an organic hub of India and Prime Minister’s decision to develop the NER as organic hub needs to be concretized under the ‘Organic Mission of the PM’ as use of chemical fertilizers in agri-horticulture is very minimal.
In Aruchal Pradesh, only about 2 percent of the cultivated area are fed with chemical fertilizers due to inherent transport bottlenecks and so, best suited for organic farming.
The governor also strongly advocated development of the NER as a gateway to East and stated that for this there must be Infra-structure development, promotion of cost-effective small, medium, large industries, export – import trading, Border trades with the neighboring tions and Joint-ventures under the Act East Policy. Sharing his experiences, Rajkhowa said that the state and central governments, civil societies, NGOs and students bodies must come together in a big way to mitigate the challenges.
The two-day semir is being organised by Rajiv Gandhi University Research Scholars’ Forum (RGURS) in collaboration with the Department of Political Science, the report added.