CONNECTIVITY PROJECTS TO NORTH EAST INDIA

  • Recently, India’s Finance Minister announced the execution of several rail, road and air connectivity projects worth Rs. 1,34,200 crore in the northeast.
  • These projects will help in bringing the rest of India closer to the North-East and vice-versa.
  • Connectivity with Southeast Asian countries will also remain an area of focus.

Major Infrastructure Projects In The Northeast

  • 4,000 km of roads, 20 railway projects for 2,011 km and 15 air connectivity projects are being developed.
  • National waterways on the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Barak rivers (National Waterways (NW)-1 on the Ganges, NW-2 on Brahmaputra and NW-16 on Barak) are under development to provide better connectivity.
  • As the cost of travel through water is the least when compared to air, road and rail networks, the riverine systems of India and Bangladesh can be leveraged for all types of transportation.
  • The number of ‘Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Routes’ was increased from 8 to 10.
  • Along the Brahmaputra River, the development of the entire area between Sadiya and Dhubri in Assam is ongoing for improved connectivity.
  • Multimodal hub that includes a ship repairing port at Pandu, four tourist jetties, and 11 floating terminals on the Brahmaputra in Guwahati is under construction.
  • It will connect the northeast with the rest of India by providing 5,000 km of navigable waterways.

North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP):

  • (NERPSIP) is a major step towards economic development of the North Eastern Region through strengthening of Intra – State Transmission and Distribution systems.
  • Government is also emphasizing on projects related to power transmission and distribution, mobile networks, 4G, and broadband connectivity.
  • Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East (PM-DevINE): It was announced in Union Budget 2022-23.This will fund infrastructure in the spirit of PM Gati Shakti, and social development projects based on felt needs of the North-East.

Importance of the North-East Region:

  • The North-East region is strategically located with access to the traditional domestic market of eastern India, along with proximity to the major states in the east and adjacent countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • With Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) engagement becoming a central pillar of India’s foreign policy direction, North-East states play an important role as the physical bridge between India and Southeast Asia.
  • The India’s Act East Policyplaces the northeastern states on the territorial frontier of India’s eastward engagement.
  • North-East has immense natural resources, accounting for around 34% of the country’s water resources and almost 40% of India’s hydropower potential.
  • Sikkim is India’s first organic state.
  • Northeast of India is home to many wildlife sanctuaries like Kaziranga National Park famous for the one horned rhinoceros, Manas National Park, Nameri, Orang, Dibru Saikhowa in Assam, Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh, Balpakram in Meghalaya, Keibul Lamjao in Manipur, Intanki in Nagaland, Khangchendzonga in Sikkim.

Way Forward

  • Investing in infrastructure would generate employment and would play a major role in thwarting secessionist movements in the North-East region.
  • India’s North East is surrounded by national and international borders, so, national and international infrastructure development will be the best choice for inclusive development in India’s Northeast.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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