Topmost priority to NE states by UPA: Congress

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) With assembly elections to Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura being slated to be held over the next fortnight, the Congress today claimed that the UPA government had provided topmost priority to integrate these North-eastern states further into the national mainstream.

AICC spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons that the North- eastern region always neglected when non-Congress government was in power at the Centre.

"This is strategically an important and a diverse region of India that is usually not in the focus of the national media," he said, listing out the initiatives of the UPA government in the past 44 months to improve the lives of the people in the region.

"Broadly speaking, the UPA governments policy towards the North- east can be summed up as establishing peace for development. There can be no development without peace and vice-versa.'' In this context, he pointed out that the insurgent groups in Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya have entered into agreements with the UPA government to suspend insurgency operations. This had brought relative succour to the lives of ordinary people.

On the development front, Mr Tewari said the UPA government had implemented a Rs 12, 123 crore project for the improvement of 7,639 kms of National Highways and State roads. Thirty four district headquarters, unconnected so far, would be connected to the National Highways under the aegis of this programme.

A public-private partnership for the construction of a 750 MW Gas based thermal power plant in Tripura was being taken up on a war footing at a cost of Rs 3,900 crores.

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