The police also said that some anti- social elements are trying to create disturbance under the name of protest, trying to take undue advantage.
Ethnic clashes in Manipur notwithstanding, the north eastern region (NER) has witnessed a dramatic change in the last nine years ever since Narendra Modi became the prime minister with the Centre focusing on connectivity in the region, be it rail, road, air, waterways or digital.
Besides connectivity, the government has been working towards making the region insurgency-free by 2024, and also resolving the decades old inter-state boundary disputes through dialogue.
Modi, who called the eight northeastern states ‘Ashtalakshmi’ had visited the region around 60 times, while his ministers visited it more than 400 times in the government’s endeavour to bring the NER on par with other developed regions of the country. Notably, the ruling dispensation has accused the previous Congress -led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of neglecting the region.
However, Modi has been facing criticism from the Opposition parties, including Congress, for not visiting the strife-torn state of Manipur. The Opposition has been accusing the BJP-led governments in the state as well as at the Centre of having failed to resolve the crisis in Manipur. The Congress recently claimed that the prime minister did not visit Mizoram for campaigning in the Assembly polls as he feared criticism for his unwillingness to go to Manipur.
Many people lost their lives while thousands were forced to take refuge in relief camps following the ethnic clashes which erupted in the northeastern state on May 3. Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said the state is returning to normalcy now.
On road connectivity in the northeastern states, the Ministry of Development of North-East Region (DoNER) had said a total of 261 road projects under different schemes of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways with a total sanctioned cost of Rs.1,02,594 crore are under implementation through National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL) and state Public Works Departments (PWDs) in the NE states.
In addition, the Ministry said under the erstwhile North East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS) and the present North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS) has sanctioned a total of 77 road projects amounting to Rs 3372.58 crore.
Moreover, under North Eastern Council (NEC) 51 projects worth Rs.4345.16 crore under schemes of NEC have been sanctioned in connection with improving rail, air and road connectivity in the NER, it said.
On rail connectivity, the Ministry said a total of 19 railway infrastructure projects, falling fully / partly in NE states, covering a total length of 1909 km at a cost of Rs.81,941 crore have been undertaken and are at different stages of planning/approval/execution. Out of these, 482 km length has been commissioned and an expenditure of Rs.37,713 crore has been incurred upto March,2023.
Among the railways major completed projects included — Assam’s Barak Valley got connected with broad gauge network in November, 2015 due to completion of Gauge Conversion work of Lumding-Silchar section, capital of Arunachal Pradesh was connected in 2015 and capital of Tripura was connected by Railways in 2016. Manipur connected with broad gauge at Jiribam for passenger train services in May, 2016.
The latest is the Akhaura (Bangladesh )- Agartala (Tripura) Cross-Border Rail Link project which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina. The project has been executed under Government of India grant assistance of Rs 392.52 crore extended to Bangladesh.
On air connectivity in the region, among the major achievements included Greenfield Airport at Pakyong in Sikkim (September ,2018) and Donyi Polo Airport in Hollongi near Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh (November,2022).
As per the BJP-led government, the number of airports in the region jumped to 17 from the previous nine under its regime.
The government is also undertaking all efforts to develop the waterways.
Before 2014 there was only 1 national waterway in NER. Now 20 waterways are declared as national waterways in the NER, as per the government.
On law and order, the government had said, “There has been a 74 per cent reduction in insurgency incidents, 60 per cent reduction in incidents of attacks on security forces and 89 per cent reduction in civilian deaths. About 8,000 youth have surrendered and have joined the mainstream, welcoming a better future for themselves and their families.”
Further, an agreement with the National Liberation Front (NLFT) of Tripura in 2019, The Bru and Bodo Agreement in 2020, and Karbi Agreement in 2021 were signed.
Earlier this year in April a tripartite memorandum of settlement between Government of India, Government of Assam and representatives of Dimasa National Liberation Army/Dimasa Peoples’ Supreme Council (DNLA/DPSC) was signed in Delhi to rehabilitate the surrendered cadres.
On decades-old inter-state boundary issues, the Assam-Meghalaya, and Assam-Arunachal Pradesh governments had signed agreements and inching towards resolving it permanently. Assam is also holding talks with Mizoram towards this direction.
It may be mentioned that the DoNER Ministry launched the “MDoNER Data Analytics Dashboard” and “Poorvottar Sampark Setu” portal in a bid to monitor the developmental activities of central government ministries and departments in the northeast.
The MDoNER Data Analytics Dashboard has the data of 112 schemes across 55 Ministries and Departments and will help in data driven decision making , ease of operations, centralized monitoring , policy level decision tool, and information integration, the Ministry said.
The dashboard will keep a close watch on aspirational districts, border districts and the most backward districts in the region. It will be equipped with the latest innovations in e-governance and display information across multiple Ministries and Departments on a single platform.
Similarly, the Poorvottar Sampark Setu portal, is a powerful tool designed to streamline and enhance monitoring of fortnightly visits of Union Ministers to the North Eastern Region (NER). The Dashboard provides valuable insights and graphical information about State-wise/district-wise visits to the region to be used by all the stakeholders in one place.
The portal generates a curated list of Ministers who can be nominated for visits to NER in the upcoming months. This list is dynamic and takes into account several factors to streamline the visits. After the visit, the Ministers can submit their tour reports along with their recommendations online.