Prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for developing such next-generation infrastructure including setting up of optical fibre network in the Northeast which would create immense job opportunities within the region, in the process checking large-scale emigration of youth from here to other states.
“What the Northeast needs now is next-generation infrastructure including information highways that would create immense employment opportunities within the region. Improved connectivity on the other hand will trigger off huge domestic tourist flow to the region. With our government already allocating Rs 28000 crores for the region in the last railway budget, the Northeast is definitely heading for new heights of development,” the prime minister said.
He was flagging off by remote switch the first train from Mendipathar (in Meghalaya) to Guwahati as also laying foundation stone of the Bhairabi-Sairang railway line in Mizoram.
“Times are changing, and so is the world. Northeast today needs gas grid, safe drinking water, round-the-clock electricity. And finally optical fibre network. Infrastructure has to be built keeping in mind the requirements of life of changing times,” he said. Once optical fibre is in place, young people from the Northeast will not require to flock to places like Bangalore and Hyderabad in search of jobs. Call centres can then come up even in remote corners of the Northeast,” the prime minister said.
The Prime Minister said India now needs next-generation infrastructure – consisting of both highways and i-ways (information ways). He said there should be no digital divide, and the vision of Digital India also encompasses the Northeast. Why should there not be a gas-grid, why should we not get electricity for all 24 hours, Modi asked, expressing confidence that next-gen infrastructure would be the key to building a modern India. He said a good optical fibre network would lead to immense opportunities for the Northeast.
“Digital India’s dream must definitely include the Northeast too. Once I-way connectivity is established, remote corners of the Northeast will also be at par with other parts of the country,” he said.
Modi also described railways as a development tool and said railways not only connect people and places but also empower the community. “Railways constitute the backbone of India’s economy. Right now we do not look at railways holistically but only see it as station here and a stoppage here. We want to bring about both horizontal and vertical development of railways by upgrading technology. Railways have to be made the engine of India’s economic growth,” he said.
Pointing out that the NDA government was laying more stress on development of the Northeast, Modi also recalled that during his recent visit to Myanmar he had also explored possibilities of better connectivity between the two countries with special emphasis on how youth from the Northeast could get more employment opportunities through it.
The prime minister also described the eight states of Northeast as “asta-lakshmi” or “eight goddesses of wealth” and said the country will prosper in the truest sense only when the Northeast also prospers. He said that the whole world acknowledges that this century is Asia`s century. “Therefore the need of the hour is to extend the Look East policy to an Act East policy, and to connect the entire region with Myanmar and countries beyond,” he said.