New Delhi, Nov 29: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday underlined the government`s resolve to accord priority to the development of the North-East, as he flagged-off the first train from Mendipathar, Meghalaya, to Guwahati and unveiled the plaque for a new rail line from Bhairabi to Sairang.
The Prime Minister said it was as an important occasion in the history of Indian Railways, when a state was being added to the rail network.
He expressed his government’s commitment to realise the potential of the north-east and to accelerate its progress.
The Prime Minister said that he has heard that according to Vastushastra, if the North-East corner of the house was maintained well, then the entire house could be taken care of. He said that all he knew was that if India has to be prosperous, then development of North-East was a priority.
He said infrastructure is the first step towards development, and once infrastructure is developed, the people can themselves contribute a lot to development.
The Prime Minister gave the example of South Korea to show how infrastructure creation could spur growth and development. He said if good connectivity was established across the eight states of the North-East, the entire region would prosper, and tourism would flourish.
The Prime Minister announced that the first Union Budget of the new government had committed Rs. 28,000 crore to the development of new railway lines in the north-east.
He said that the whole world acknowledged that this century was Asia’s century, adding that the need of the hour was to extend the ‘Look East’ policy to an ‘Act East’ policy and to connect the entire region with Myanmar and countries beyond.
The Prime Minister said India now needs next-generation infrastructure – consisting of both highways and I-ways (information ways). He said there should be no digital divide, and the vision of Digital India also encompasses the north-east.
“Why should there not be a gas-grid, why should we not get electricity for all 24 hours?” Prime Minister Modi said while expressing confidence that next-gen infrastructure would be the key to building a modern India.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that India had allowed 100 percent FDI in Railways to spur the process of modernization of the Indian Railways. He said the government was also considering privatization of railway stations to promote economic activity.
Platinum jubilee of The Assam Tribune
Prime Minister Narendra, who inaugurated the platinum jubilee celebrations of ‘The Assam Tribune’ here on Saturday, said it was an honour to be among the people who had used the power of the pen for society.
“I am coming among those people, who have used the power of the pen for society. Newspapers mould our thoughts. Newspapers born during the time in which Assam Tribune were born in circumstances that were painful. I am here to salute all those people who worked with this paper,” he said.
Underlining the importance of newspapers, the Prime Minister said there was a time when newspapers used to look for news but that had changed now.
“It would be wrong to say that newspaper only informs us and delivers news, newspapers shape our perception. There was a time when newspapers used to look for news, time has changed, today news look for newspapers. Most of the newspapers are born out of sorrows of society; the resentment within society was expressed through power of pen,” he stated.
In a series of tweets issued ahead of his three-day visit to the north-eastern states of Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland, the Prime Minister said that he was eagerly looking forward to being there and interacting with the people.
“Rich natural resources combined with talent of our youth gives our North-East the potential to play a key role in our development journey. India will not develop till the North-East develops,” Modi tweeted.
(With Agency Inputs)