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More DoNER funds to NE

Union Minister for DoNER, BK Handique flanked by Northeast CMs addressing the meeting at North Eastern Council headquarters in Shillong, Wednesday.
Published on 25 Jun. 2009 12:50 AM IST
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Assuring that the flow of funds to the North-Eastern states would be enhanced and routed expeditiously, the Minister for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) B K Handique said today the guidelines for implementation of Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) would be simplified. Addressing a meeting of chief ministers of the region at the North Eastern Council (NEC) Secretariat here, the minister said they are working according to a 100-days agenda for improving their functioning. “Implementation of the developmental projects in the region is very important for us. If we can complete some of the pending projects within the 100 days timeline, this will ensure more projects for the region,” the Union Minister said. “Enough has been said on the development after the creation of DoNER. Let us quickly get into action,” Handique added. This entails steps to increase connectivity to and within NE region according to the broad road maps given in the NE Vision 2020, selection of projects and finalisation of DPRs for the states out of the Rs 500 crore allotted in the 2008-09 union budget. Other measures include implementation of North-Eastern Rural Livelihood Project funded by the World Bank, expansion of North East Region Community Resource Management Project to cover more villages and other activities including continued efforts of Look East Policy, more equitable role for North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi) in all NE states, the minister said. He informed that Rs 5400 crore had been released by DoNER to the region since 1996, out of which Rs 4400 crore has been utilised so far. Adding that there was no official information as yet on the utilisation of the remaining Rs 1000 crore, he urged the Chief Ministers of the region to follow a time-bound approach in completing the projects. Handique said he was scouting for new ideas which would show quick results on the ground. “My intention of holding this meeting is basically to hear the States on the possibilities to improve the functioning of the ministry,” Handique told the chief ministers. Out of the eight North Eastern states, only four chief ministers - Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya attended the meeting. The other states - Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim were represented by senior ministers. Rio’s plea to DoNER Participating in the northeast CMs meet in Shillong, Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio suggested several proposals of the state which had not been attended to till now. He reminded that Nagaland had suggested various schemes be taken up either under the Rs 500 crore special package announced by the former finance minister or under the special economic stimulus package of Rs 20,000 crores for the country. Among other points raised by Rio included the requirement for an alternative airport at Ciethu has been a long felt need which was yet to be fulfilled, Rio requested the union minister to ensure that the work was taken up during his tenure. Rio also sought the support of DoNER in setting up medical colleges in the state and setting up of a Pilot and Air Maintenance Institute in Dimapur, for which the DPR was under submission. Rio also pointed out the necessity of Intra and Inter-State Helicopter connectivity through private parties in the NE region since fixed wing air connectivity would be limited due to poor airport facilities in the hilly terrain of the region. He also urged DoNER to expedite the proposed extension of Dimapur to Kohima Railway Line which was still on the drawing boards. He said a proposal was submitted for a railway line from Dimapur to Tizit via Tuli Paper Mill and appealed for inclusion of the same as an important economic infrastructure for Nagaland. Rio said Nagaland’s proposal for the extension of the four lane East-West corridor to Dimapur – Kohima - Imphal and Moreh should be taken up seriously as it would also allow Manipur/Nagaland/Assam to be linked with important growth centers in South East Asian countries. Other issues raised by Rio included special package for setting up colleges in backward districts of Tuensang,Mon, Kiphire and Longleng including tribal hostels and residential schools that were critical for the development of the most backward areas of the state. The chief minister pointed out that major portions of commitments made by the prime minister not only remain unfulfilled but gave rise to complications. He therefore urged DoNER to impress upon the prime minister to visit Nagaland and ascertain the deficiencies to make generous interventions as was done with other states. He said that as DoNER was the only forum where chief ministers could place their grievances, it should not be implied that the state was ungrateful to DoNER and the Centre,while emphasizing on development for peace in the region.

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