Centre committed to strengthen connectivity, bring development in north-east region: Harsh Vardhan
Kohima, Feb 27: Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said the Centre is committed to strengthen connectivity in the northeastern states and will ensure that the region has as much development as the rest of the country.
The Union health minister also said several development projects have been executed in the region in the last 5-7 years and more central initiatives will be taken up in the coming days.
"...an emphasis has been given to ensure that the north-east region has as much development as the rest of the country," Vardhan said while interacting with reporters during his visit to an under-construction medical college at Phriebagei in Nagaland's Kohima district.
The foundation stone for the facility, which is supposed to be the first medical college of Nagaland, was laid in 2014 by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, but the completion of the project was getting delayed due to various reasons, he said, adding that the construction work is now gaining pace. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2022.
Vardhan also said allocation for the health sector has been increased in this year's Union Budget and the Centre has given impetus to allied infrastructure such as availability of potable water and sanitation. The budget outlay for health and wellbeing was estimated at Rs 2,23,846 crore for the 2021-22 fiscal, up by 137 per cent from Rs 94,452 crore in the current financial year.
"There is a huge focus from all the central departments. It is not only about health and family welfare but issues related to connectivity in the region are being addressed," he said. Vardhan on Friday laid the foundation stone for Nagaland's second medical college, which will be set up in Mon district with an estimated investment of Rs 325 crore. Construction of the facility is likely to be completed by 2023-24.
"The construction activities should be taken up at the earliest so that there is no delay," the minister said. He recollected that the second medical college of the state was approved in the current term of the Narendra Modi government.
The Centre has given priority to develop health facilities in areas where people did not have medical establishments even after the 75 years of Independence, he said. Vardhan urged the Neiphiu Rio government in Nagaland to take initiatives to complete the two health projects.