First meeting of NITI Forum for North East focuses on Connectivity

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Agartala/Guwahati, April 10: The first meeting of the NITI Forum for North East was held at State Guest House at Agartala on Tuesday focusing on the strategies for improving the road, rail, air connectivity, agricultural productivity and industrial development in the region.

The meeting was chaired by DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajib Kumar.

In the day-long deliberations, the members of the NITI Forum for Northeast expressed their views and suggestion on the thrust area which can propel development including Hydel Power, Tourism, Border Trade, Bamboo, Floriculture, Medicinal plants, Horticulture, Handicrafts, Animal Husbandry, Organic Farming.

Special emphasis was given on speedy infrastructure building and improvement in
connectivity. Kumar also stated that Udan-III and connectivity between Chittagong in (Bangladesh) to Sabroom will remove Tripura’s landlocked tag which will bring major impact in the entire connectivity system of the region.

Talking to media, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that as the region is in high priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the funding pattern for the Northeast will be 100% which was earlier 90:10 adding that Singh continued saying there has been a significant rise in 21% in fund utilization in the North-East region during the last three years.

Singh also laid emphasis on inter-regional connectivity instead of regional connectivity so that people of the region could move from one place to another without any trouble.

Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphieu Rio, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Deputy CM of Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, PWD Minister of Assam Parimal SuklaBaidya and representatives of five more NE states and high officials of State Governments and different Ministry remained present in the first meeting of NITI Forum.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma expressed his concern on infrastructure development including air connectivity between Northeast and other ASEAN countries. He also expressed concern over proper road connectivity between all State capitals of the region.

He added, “The 2022 National Games in Meghalaya should be treated as an event for Northeast and momentum of growth and development should be accelerated.”

He also remarked that formation of the Forum would go a long way in realizing the potentials of Northeast, as all the States will come together to address challenges based on similarities and commonalities to chart out an action plan.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma also expressed his concern on climate change and expressed his views on mitigation and adaptation. “There is a need to create small check dams and reservoirs and hybrid system for power so that we are able to tap the potential of our resources”, he said.

“I am optimistic that the Forum for North East would be able to guide each state to move forward with specific suggestions and ideas”, added CM Conrad K Sangma.

He informed the gathering that Meghalaya is contemplating to chart out a policy on waste disposal management and would recycle plastics and engage communities to produce organic manures from biowastes.