Tripura demands Rs 11.57 cr to balance growth in NE

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Agartala, Dec 18 (UNI) Tripura today asked the Centre to provide additional fund to balance the growth of the northeastern region and other parts of the country while renewing the demand of infrastructure development in NE states.

Addressing the 55th meeting of the North Eastern Council(NEC) in Delhi Rural Development and Tribal Welfare Minister Jitendra Choudhury expressed displeasure over the slow and imbalanced development of the region.

According to the estimation of NE Region Vision 2020 prepared by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, the region was in need of an additional Rs 11,56,785 crores, to ensure balanced growth.

''We want the investment in the region at par with the national economic growth in both public and private sectors,'' Mr Choudhury later told UNI over phone. He said expansion of transit facilities between NE states and Bangladesh would accelerate development in this part of the country.

He lashed out at the Railway Ministry for slow growth of rail link in Tripura and said earlier the Centre had made commitment to bring the railways up to Agartala by March 2007. But uncertainty still loomed large over the expansion plan, he said.

At the same time, progress of an alternative highway between Asom and Tripura and eastern express highway, connecting all the NE state capitals by standard four lanes was also not satisfactory, Mr Choudhury alleged and urged the Centre to take these up on priority basis.

He opined that inadequacy of resources had emerged as a major obstacle to the region's development and asked the Centre to increase allocation in revised budget in the remaining years of the 11th five year plan to speed up development of Northeast.

''Only Rs 2500 crore was made available to the NEC against an approved budget of Rs 3500 crore during the 10th plan that virtually affected activities of the regional planning bodies,'' Mr Choudhury said.

UNI

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