Development of a region from the socio-economic perspective is the sine qua non of good governance and well accepted by people. Long spell of Congress rule at Dispur has only kept the people of Barak Valley in good humour by feeding them with promises and lullabies. Tarun Gogoi, three-term Chief Minister, has been a classic example who never missed to hoodwink the gullible voters of the valley with packages of crores of rupees only to fizzle out in the air. Art of hallucinations cannot continue for a long time. It has to end; and this did end. The BJP Government came to power in 2016 with the agenda of development for all. True to its word, the stigma of discrimination and neglect by Dispur towards Barak has been given a go by. Sarbananda and Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have become the most popular faces with people for standing by them in the hour of need.
Even the most vocal and critical Barak media admits there has been a dramatic shift in Dispur's policy. A new bridge over Barak to connect the Kumbhirgram Airport, Dima Hasao district and Imphal, besides a number of villages, is no more a dream. Work on the second bridge for connecting Silchar with Dudhpatil with the largest concentration of rural population is in progress. Network of highways and roads across the Valley and beyond has undergone qualitative improvement. The East-West Corridor — the dream project of Atal Bihari Vajpayee — stuck up in red-tapism over the 31 km-stretch in Borail Hills for years, is at last on the track. In order to make the waterways to Bangladesh easy for navigation, dredging in Barak, now suspended due to high waters, has been taken up after years of bungling and faltering. The valley is now linked to the rest of the country by a broad gauge track that was in uncertainty for 18 years during the Manmohan Singh-regime at Delhi.
Delhi and Dispur are working in cohort to push forward the agenda of development. Irritating and annoying load-shedding and power cuts are now things of the past. The Sreekona power substation near Silchar which receives 100 MW of power from Palatana gas plant of Tripura meets the needs of the Valley. Besides, the deficit is fed from the National Grid. Remarkable improvement has occurred in academic infrastructure, health services, power-connectivity to urban and rural zones, drinking- water facility in uncovered areas — notwithstanding certain black patches. The three-day 'Navami Barak Festival of 2017' sent the clear message of equal emphasis on development of both the valleys. True, the Barak Valley is changing; but there are still miles to go.
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