Gov, CM pitch for redrawing funds at NEC meet

DIMAPUR, JUL 9 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/10/2018 12:32:42 AM IST
Re-examine NEC projects: Acharya
Calling for not reducing North East Council into a mere recommending body and a knowledge hub without necessary resources, Nagaland Governor PB Acharya said the recommendation of Expenditure Finance Committee for continuing NEC schemes till 2020 needed re-examination.
Addressing the 67th plenary of NEC at Shillong on Monday, Acharya pointed out that the North-eastern States, particularly Nagaland, with meagre resources depended on the council and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) ministry for assistance for implementing important projects and programmes that were outside the funding pattern of the Central ministries.
Welcoming the recent re-positioning of NEC as a centre for conflict resolution, development planning and knowledge hub, Acharya, however, pointed out that the region still lacked behind other States in terms of development. Acharya said Kohima was the only State Capital in the country without an airport and urged NEC for expeditiously taking up the proposed greenfield airport at Ciethu. Although Nagaland was strategically located, only when it has good connectivity would the State and country benefit from the Act East policy, he added.
Referring to PM Narendra Modi’s emphasis on converting the Northeast into an organic hub, Acharya urged NEC to come forward and help the States of the region in getting their produce certified as organic, build a brand and create value chain linking producers with consumers. 
Pointing out that Nagaland had immense potential for horticulture crops, besides food processing and packaging, he called for strengthening upgrading Dimapur-based Central Institute for Horticulture and upgrading it into a full-fledged regional institute for horticulture. He said the State government had introduced smart metering and pre-paid meters in certain localities for improving efficiency and reducing losses in distribution of power and sought NEC support to cover the entire State.
Rio calls for redrawing NEC budget
DIMAPUR, JUL 9 (NPN): Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has urged the Centre to ensure that budget for North Eastern Council (NEC) was redrawn and funds allotted to the council be utilised basically for NEC works and not for clearing the liabilities of governmental bodies and agencies of the region. 
Speaking on the inaugural day of the two-day plenary of NEC at Shillong on Monday, Rio also said there had been sufficient accumulation of funds due to parking of 10% of their budget by Central ministries for the Northeast, and suggested allocating the money to the Union ministry for development of north-eastern region (DoNER) for clearing liabilities and taking up new schemes. 
The chief minister pointed out that the present system of priority lists and retention of projects sanctioned and approved caused much delay and that energy, time and resources were wasted chasing these projects thereby delaying development. He said as there was much ambiguity on what will be approved, the States were not able to plan their projects. 
He explained that projects retained and put on priority lists raised expectations of the people, however, delay in their approval created a negative impact in people’s minds, for which the State governments and political leadership often ended up in an uncomfortable position. This contributed further towards deficit in public confidence on the Central government, he added. 
Pointing out that there were multiple agencies like NEC, DoNER and the recently-created North East Forum, Rio called for clarity on the roles of these bodies and also advocated giving flexibility to the State governments for utilisation of Central fund allocations.
Stating that the North-eastern States were lagging behind other States and regions in terms of development, he urged NEC to continue playing a proactive role in ensuring all-round development of the region.
Rio stressed on increasing connectivity in Nagaland and pointed out how the proposed Ciethu greenfield airport for Kohima and upgrade of Dimapur airport were yet to take off. Lamenting that there was no direct flight to New Delhi, he sought more flights connecting Dimapur with Guwahati, Kolkata and New Delhi. 
The chief minister said in the absence of large-scale industries tourism played a major role in socio-economic development of the State and urged NEC to give more fund allocation for tourism sector. He also urged NEC and DoNER for setting up a tourism & service industry university that would cover all aspects of tourism and service industry like hotel management, civil aviation, tourism management, etc. 
Rio further requested NEC to establish Regional Institute of Architecture & Planning, Regional Institute of Music, Art & Culture and North East Institute of Skill Development in Nagaland.
He once again stressed for changing the current funding pattern of 90:10 for the Northeast to hundred percent financing by the Centre. 
Rio proposed holding NEC plenary in all North-eastern States on a rotational basis.

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