Vowing to ensure a “new era” of development in the northeast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the 60 MW Tuirial Hydro Electric Power Project (HEPP) in Mizoram and said that all Northeast state capitals will soon be on the nation’s rail map.

Speaking in Aizawl after inaugurating the project, Modi said lack of connectivity was one of the biggest hurdles in the path of development of the Northeastern region.

“We want to transform the region through transportation by investing in infrastructure to change the face of the region,” he said.

“We are committed to bring all the Northeastern state capitals on the rail map. The government is executing 15 new Rail Line projects of 1385 kilometers length, at a cost of over Rs.47,000 crore,” he added.

Modi said there have been over 150 ministerial visits to the region and the Union government’s Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Ministry was at the doorstep of the people.

“Vision of new India can be realised only if fruits of development reach all. Government plans to focus on around 115 districts which are relatively backward when evaluated on various indicators,” he added.

Speaking about the project, Modi said it was first cleared by the Union Government of PM Vajpayee ji, way back in 1998 but got delayed.

“The completion of this project is a reflection of our commitment to complete ongoing projects and usher in a new era of development in the North Eastern region,” he said.

“Besides electricity the reservoir water will also open new avenues for navigation. This will provide connectivity to remote villages. It will boost eco-tourism and provide a source of assured drinking water supply,” he added.

The Tuirial HEPP has been constructed as a Central Sector Project and implemented by North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared the Project for implementation in July 1998 with commissioning scheduled in July 2006.

After completion of about 30 per cent of the project activities, the works were suspended in 2004 due to local agitation.

With sustained efforts by NEEPCO and with active support of Ministry of Power and Ministry of DoNER, the stalled works of the project were resumed in January 2011.

The state’s current demand of electricity is only 87 MW and this is being met by state’s mini power projects and availability of its share of power from central sector projects.

With the additional 60 MW of electricity from the project, Mizoram will now be the third power-surplus state in north-east India after Sikkim and Tripura.