PM reiterates UPA initiatives for Northeast

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Udaipur, South Tripura, Feb 19 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reiterated the UPA government's initiatives for the development of Northeast.

Addressing an election rally here, he said as per the National Common Minimum Programme, the government had identified seven priority sectors like agriculture, water, education, health care, employment, urban renewal and infrastructure in backward region, especially in the Northeast, to ensure higher economic growth and more equitable social and economic development.

Terming the enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) an exclusive gift to the people of the country, Dr Singh said, '' It provides a legal guarantee for at least 100 days of employment, to begin with, on asset-creating public works programme every year at minimum wages for at least one able-bodied person in every rural, urban poor and lower-middle class household and would be extended to all the districts of the country.'' At the same time, he claimed that the UPA government had given the highest investment, credit and technological priority to the continued growth of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, the floriculture, afforestation, dairying and agro-processing sector of the Northeast, which would significantly add to the creation of new jobs.

The UPA government had also attached the highest priority to the development and expansion of infrastructure like roads, highways, ports, power, railways, water supply, sewage treatment and sanitation, he said, adding Tripura alone had received Rs 250 crore under PMGSY and Rs 150 crore in NREGA so far.

He lamented that as many as 350 villages of Tripura had not yet got electricity despite UPA government's policies to enhance the region's energy security, particularly in the area of oil and gas.

Referring to his last visit to Tripura on the foundation stone- laying ceremony of ONGC's 750 MW power plant at Palatana in Udaipur in 2005, Dr Singh said the Left Front government in Tripura had ''failed'' to bring the project in operation till date and promised, ''If the Congress alliance comes to power this time, the state would see a tremendous growth in gas-based industries.'' UNI XC-BB KK HS KP1656

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