All NE state capitals to be linked with railway lines: PM

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New Delhi, Jul 2 (UNI) Holding that infrastructure deficiency remained a major concern for the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said in view of that the Centre had decided to link all Northeastern state capitals with railway lines and those ventures had been given the status of national projects with a special funding.

Inaugurating the vision 2020 for the NER, Dr Singh said, '' Our Government has made connectivity and infrastructure development the cornerstone of regional development in the North-East. At the same time, we have emphasised the importance of institution building and strengthening local democracy.'' He said, '' We need roads, railways, airports, schools and hospitals, but we also need institutons and processes that of governance because I do believe that here too, there is vast scope for improving on the present state of affairs.'' Airports were being modernised and new ones being built.

An ambitious programme of road building has been taken up under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the NE (SARDP-NE) and an amount of Rs 31,000 crore was being invested on roads in the 11th five year plan. There are relaxed guidelines for rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) so that even the farthest hamlets on the border are linked by roads. Within the 11th plan period, these interventions will begin to show positive results, he added.

He said along with infrastructure development, the Government was also focusing on agricultural and rural development of the region.

The region, too, required a Second Green Revolution specific to the requirements and development potential of it, he added.

Throwing light on the vision, he said it was a tribute to the democratic sensibilities and traditions of the people of the NER.

''This is also an unique event in our nation building processes that the leaders of a region have come together to forge a common path to development and greater prosperity for the people of this region.'' Dr Singh said another hallmark of the vision was its stress on inclusiveness. Growth and equity must converge in the path of development and special efforts must be made to address the concerns of the underpriviledged and the marginalised sections of the population.

He said the NER has been blessed with natural and human resources that could greatly contribute to the overall development of the region.

The PM said, '' Let development now be the leitmotif of the NER.

For too long has violence been the dominant recurrent theme of discourse on the NE.'' The PM also gave a call to the people of the region to work together to shun violence, saying bloodshed had no place in society The meeting was attended by all the eight Chief Ministers of the NER.

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