Northeast needs more government initiatives: Tripura chief minister


Agartala: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Saturday asked the centre not to apply all-India models, norms and systems in geographically-isolated northeast region which, according to him, needs special approach both in infrastructure and service sectors.

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“Don’t execute all-India BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) or PPP (Public-Private Partnership) models for building infrastructure or to provide services in basic sectors,” Sarkar said while addressing a seminar here on ‘Reaching the heart of the northeast – inclusive growth’.

He said: “The resource rich eight northeastern states need more governmental initiatives to exploit their resources instead of private initiative. Advancement of science and technology in all vital segments are still far away from the other parts of the world.”

The Planning Commission and the central government have been giving emphasis on BOT and PPP models in development of infrastructure and services sectors.

Sarkar, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member, said the projection of a “shining India” is limited to certain parts of the country, and is “a distant dream in northeast region”.

Several experts and researchers at the seminar felt that development of information and communication technology (ICT) and expansion of surface communication are imperative for all round development of the northeast region, whose total population is 45.58 million and is surrounded by China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Wooing private investors, Sarkar said: “There will be no need for underhand or under-table expenses, no 2G, CWG and no Adarsh housing like scams, everything will be above board and transparent, so make up your minds and invest in Tripura,” to loud applause from the gathering.

Making an important policy statement, the chief minister said his Left Front government would extend all help to industries that would be based on locally available raw materials like natural gas, rubber, bamboo, fruits and other forest and agricultural produce.

“Extensive development of ICT, extension of road, rail and air connectivity would fasten the growth of the backward most northeast region,” Bharat Sanchar Nigam General Manager Debkumar Chakraborty said.

He said: “Primary education is excellent in northeast, but higher education is not good. However, of late IIT (Indian Institute of Technology, IIM (Indian Institute of Management) and several NITs (National Institute of Technology have been set up in the northeastern states.”

The day-long seminar, which was organised by the Kolkata based The Telegraph newspaper, highlighted the scope, capacity and effectiveness of ICT in the eight northeastern states.

RailTel Corporation of India, a corporate body on ICT, executive director Anshul Gupta said: “Using national optical fibre network, tele-education, tele-medicine and even agricultural boom can be achieved in the region within a limited period.”

“A quick transformation of livelihood and advancement of life-style can be realized with the help of national optical fibre network,” Gupta stated.