Dimapur, Dec 1: Describing the entire Northeast region as a Natural Economic Zone (NEZ) whose potential had hitherto remained untapped, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said his priority is to nourish the NEZ for benefit of the Northeast.
The Prime Minister, who inaugurated the Hornbill Festival in Kohima, praised the rich cultural heritage of Nagaland and the sturdiness, honesty, simplicity, inherent strong character and hardworking attitude of the Naga people. He also congratulated the Nagas for organizing this festival which showcases the cultural diversity of the state.
He also greeted the people of Nagaland on their statehood day, and urged them to introspect and look back at what has been achieved over the last 50 years, and what ground remains to be covered.
Talking about the rich biodiversity and youthful English-speaking population, Modi said these would ensure that tourism and investment would come to the state. He said the region must capture a part of the global IT outsourcing business.
He also mentioned the potential of the state in the sports of boxing, archery, football and taekwondo, and added this must be realized.
Modi said it was a decade since former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Nagaland. He assured the people of the state that they would not have to wait so long again for a Prime Minister to visit, and added that he would come back to see that all he has mentioned becomes a reality.
Further, highlighting the initiatives taken by his government for the Northeast over the last 6 months, Modi mentioned the Ishan Uday special scholarships for 10,000 students from the Northeast, and the Ishan Vikas scheme for 2000 students and 500 faculty members from colleges of the Northeast to visit other parts of the country every year.
The Prime Minister said a modern apparel garment manufacturing centre would be set up in every state, beginning with Nagaland, Assam and Sikkim.
He further informed that the government has earmarked Rs 53000 crore in the Budget for development of Northeast.
“Rs 28,000 crore has been earmarked for construction of new railway lines to boost connectivity. Rs. 5000 crore has been earmarked for improvement of intrastate power transmission systems and a similar amount for boosting 2G mobile connectivity,” he said.
It may be noted that a National Sports University will be established in Manipur along with six new colleges of agriculture in the region.
(With Agency Inputs)