The upcoming express train is to cover a distance of 532 km in six hours and 30 minutes as compared to eight hours by present existing fastest originating train on this route.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, accused previous non-BJP-led governments of neglecting the Northeast, claiming that it was only the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime that gave attention to the region and after that, his own government gave momentum to the development process.
In post-independence India, the Northeast region faced indifference and neglect. The Vajpayee government gave attention to the region and created a separate ministry for the region. Later, that momentum was lost but after 2014, a new chapter of development was opened, he said at a function at Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh.
Earlier, he inaugurated the first greenfield airport named ‘‘Donyi Polo Airport” at Itanagar and dedicated the 600 MW Kameng Hydro Power Station to the nation.
Modi said that “earlier, remote border villages were treated as the last village. Our government worked by considering the villages in the border areas as the first village of the country. This has resulted in making the development of the Northeast a priority for the government.”
The PM went on to say: ”Be it tourism or trade, telecom or textiles, Northeast gets top priority. Be it drone technology or Krishi UDAAN, be it airport connectivity or port connectivity, the government has attached priority to the development of the Northeast.”
He gave examples of the longest bridge in India, the longest railroad bridge, the rail line connectivity and a record construction of highways to highlight the development work carried out in the region. “This is a new era of expectations and aspirations and today’s programme is a perfect example of the new approach of India,” he added.
The PM said the launch of the airport was a resounding reply to the sceptics who tried to term the foundation stone of the airport as an election gimmick. He urged political commentators to don a new thinking hat and stop looking at the development of the state from the prism of political benefits. He supplemented his point by mentioning that the state was neither undertaking an election nor was any poll in the pipeline. The priority of the government was the development of the state.
The PM pointed out that the Donyi Polo Airport would be the fourth operational airport for Arunachal, taking the total airport count in the Northeast to 16. The rapid development of airports in the region reflected the special emphasis of the government on enhancing connectivity in the Northeast. He informed that the number of flights connecting the Northeast has doubled.
Highlighting the infrastructure development in Arunachal Pradesh, he gave the example of highway construction in remote and inaccessible areas and further added that the central government was going to spend another Rs 50,000 crores in the near future. He also underlined the natural beauty of Arunachal and remarked that the state has great potential for tourism. He stressed the need for proper connectivity to remote areas of the state.
Recalling the colonial law that barred the people of Arunachal from harvesting bamboo, he spoke about the government’s move to abolish the legislation. He pointed out that bamboo was part of the lifestyle of the state and its cultivation was helping the people of the region to export bamboo products all over India and the world.
“The priority of the government is to ensure that the poor lead a graceful life,” the PM remarked and lamented little efforts of the previous governments in providing education and health to the mountainous region. The present government was providing insurance cover of up to Rs five lakhs under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. “We are working on a mission mode to carry the development process forward to every house and village in the state”, Modi added.