UPA committed to NE development : PM

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Udaipur, Tripura, Feb 19 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reiterated that the UPA Government was fully committed to the uplift of the Northeast and working for the betterment of the poor and backward.

Addressing an election rally here, Dr Singh asserted that the Centre had identified seven priority sectors like agriculture, water, education, healthcare, employment, urban renewal and infrastructure in backward region, especially in the Northeast, to ensure higher economic growth as per the National Common Minimum Programme.

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. '' At the same time, the UPA Government had accorded the highest investment, credit and technological priority to the continued growth of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, floriculture, dairy and afforestation in the region to create new jobs, the Prime Minister stated.

The Government was fully seized of the task of controlling price rise of essentials, he said adding though the price of petrol and diesel was hiked, but not that of kerosene because of the pro-people attitude of the UPA.

Even though the Left parties had been continuously demanding rollback of petrol and diesel prices, Dr Singh said his government was committed to checking the inflation.

The Prime Minister said his government had attached the highest priority to the development and expansion of infrastructure like roads, highways, ports, power, railways, water supply, sewage treatment and sanitation and flayed the Left Front government in Tripura for not properly implementing Central schemes and for the tardy pace of development.

Dr Singh promised to accelerate development and ensure employment for the youth besides, restoring peace and tranquility between tribals and non-tribals if the Congress came to power.

He pointed out that the UPA Government had attached special attention to the Northeast as a whole and Tripura in particular for its strategic location.

The Prime Minister said the Centre had been giving adequate fund to the state, but development did not take place at the expected level because of the inefficiency of the administration.

He stated that the UPA was well-informed about the communication bottlenecks of the Northeast and had therefore emphasised on the improvement of rail, road and air connectivity in all the states in the region.

'' We have prioritised the development of educational infrastructure in the backward region and allocation in educational sector has increased about three-fold during the UPA regime, '' Dr Singh underlined.

Tripura alone had received Rs 250 crore under PMGSY and Rs 150 crore in NREGA so far, he said and lamented that as many as 350 villages of the state had not yet got electricity despite the UPA Government's policies to enhance the region's energy security, particularly in the area of oil and gas.

Dr Singh said the Left Front Government had failed to bring the ONGC's 750 MW power plant project at Palatana in Udaipur in operation till date and promised that if the Congress alliance was voted to power, the state would see a tremendous growth in gas-based industries.

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