Stating that the Northeast has not seen “balanced development”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that his government has initiated major infrastructure projects to make the region a “gateway to Southeast Asia”. “My emphasis on Northeast is because a balanced development of the region did not take place after so many years of independence. Now, the central government, for the last three years, is making efforts to achieve balanced development of Northeast through all its resources… These efforts will help to make the Northeast a gateway to South East Asia,” said Modi.
Addressing the centenary celebrations of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha in Shillong through video conference, the Prime Minister said the NDA government has initiated major infrastructure projects in the Northeast states, including an investment of Rs 40,000 crore to improve roads and highways.
Modi said while his government plans to bring about overall and balanced development of the Northeast states, the major thrust would be on improving connectivity and developing the entire region for tourism.
Besides roads, 19 big railway projects have also been started, he said. “We are also improving the electricity situation and trying to bring even more tourists to the region,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Northeast would soon be connected with the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik) scheme. He said small airports were being developed in the region, while the extension of the runway at Shillong airport has been approved.
Modi also rued that out of the Northeast cities which were surveyed, “only Gangtok had found a place in the first 50 clean cities”. Emphasising that the aim is to make the region a gateway to Southeast Asia, he said the dream would not be fulfilled if the gateway is dirty. He exhorted people and organisations like the Sangha to join hands in the cleanliness campaign.