The Narendra Modi government has established peace and political stability in the Northeast to create an atmosphere of investment in the region, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.
“Today all governments in the Northeast are working with full majority. Elections are being held peacefully. The BJP-led Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) is today heading all the eight governments in the region. People of the Northeast have accepted Modiji and given 19 of 24 seats in the region to the BJP. Of 498 MLAs in the region, 350 are from NEDA,” Shah said while addressing virtually a gathering of industrialists under the aegis of Indian Chamber of Commerce.
पूर्वोत्तर का विकास, वहां की शान्ति और राजनीतिक स्थिरता हमारी सर्वोच्च प्राथमिकता है।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 25, 2021
“If any place needs industrial growth, it will need peace to be established. It will need political stability, an environment for growth. This is the environment that the BJP government has created in the region in the past seven years,” Shah said.
The home minister said that without the development of the Northeast, the development of the East could not be imagined. He said that before Independence, the per capita income in Assam was the highest in the country and that his government was working to bring it back to that level.
He said the government has brought in massive changes in the infrastructure development of the region in the last seven years.
कनेक्टिविटी को बढ़ाकर हमने पूर्वोत्तर में आईटी के क्षेत्र में अपार संभावनाओं का विकास किया है। टूरिज्म और आर्गेनिक फार्मिंग के लिए पूर्वोत्तर एक बहुत बड़ा केंद्र बनकर उभरा है।
ISRO के माध्यम से नार्थईस्ट में बाढ़ नियंत्रण की भी बड़ी योजना पर हम काम कर रहे हैं। pic.twitter.com/nqyN8rFa8L
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 25, 2021
“I am telling you today, in 2024, when we go to the people to seek their votes, every capital in the region will be connected to an airport. Earlier, there were only two. Of the eight states, seven are connected with the railways today and construction of several national highways has been done. Between 2014 and 2021, Rs 2,65,513 crore have been spent purely on infrastructure. In the last seven years, the budget of the Northeast has been doubled,” Shah said.
Appealing to industry heads to invest in the Northeast, Shah said the region has great potential for the IT industry as it has the same connectivity as the rest of the country now. He said it was bestowed with the natural beauty to attract tourists from across the world and could also become the hub for organic food in the country.
“Please look at the Northeast with a different view once. Understand the changes that have been brought about there. I know investments are not made on emotions. But the atmosphere that you need for investment has already been created there. It is the right time to invest in the Northeast,” Shah said.
The home minister also stressed on the gap between the heart of the Northeast and the heart of the rest of India, which he said his government has worked to bridge.
“I am, perhaps, the only chief of an all India party who has travelled across the Northeast by road. Northeast is important for us. There should be a sense of unity between the Northeast and the rest of India. … Before 2014, there had been an attempt to create a division of hearts between the Northeast and the rest of India. In such a situation, the development of the Northeast was not possible. After the Narendra Modi government came to power, the first work it did was to bridge this gap between the hearts,” Shah said.
The home minister said that in the last seven years, PM Modi has gone to the Northeast 50 times and stayed the night 12 times. “Slowly, the work of establishing the connection of heart with the Northeast has been accomplished. There was a time when the Northeast was known for violence, extremism, controversies, floods, corruption and narcotics. Today it is talking about connectivity, employment, power generation, increasing forest cover and ending floods,” he said.
Shah said the government had also worked a great deal in ensuring peace in the region where it signed the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh, ended Manipur blockades, signed a peace deal with NLFT, solved the longstanding Bru refugee problem, managed the surrender of several insurgent groups through the Bodo peace agreement and similar surrenders were achieved through the Karbi-Anglong deal.
“Between 2007 and 2014, 385 citizens died every year (in the region). Between 2019 and 2021, the average has been two citizens a year. In the past two years, 3,922 insurgents have laid down arms and 4,000 arms have been surrendered with the police. The states and the Centre have together allocated Rs 12,000 for their rehabilitation,” he said.
Speaking about the importance of the region and its diversity, Shah said, “Northeast is bigger than UP. It has an international border running to 5,000 km and touching five different countries. Northeast is one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots of the world. We must market this. One-fourth of the forested part of India is in the Northeast. It is India’s lungs. There are over 270 different communities and more than 185 dialects in the region. Using this, some people have made the Northeast a difficult region.”