Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has informed that North Eastern Region Vision 2020 document provides an overarching framework for the development of the North Eastern Region to bring it at par with other developed regions under which different Ministries, including Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region have undertaken various initiatives.
The outlays by Central Ministries in the North Eastern Region have increased substantially. Mandatory earmarking of at least 10% of GBS of Central Ministries/Departments for North Eastern Region (NER) and creation of Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) has augmented resource flow to the region. There has been a sharp rise in provisional expenditure (subject to final vetting by Ministry of Finance) by Central Ministries in NER by 83% from Rs.24819.18 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.45,518.14 crore in 2018-19. An allocation of Rs.59,369.90 crore (BE) during 2019-20 has been made for the North Eastern Region, including Ministry of DoNER.
Strengthening infrastructure and connectivity is a major thrust area identified by the Vision document. Several connectivity initiatives have been undertaken in the recent past. In the last five years under the schemes of Ministry of DoNER, road projects worth Rs.1711.19 crore were sanctioned and under schemes of North Eastern Council (NEC) Rs.1573.56 crore was released for development of infrastructure like roads and bridges, ISBT, airports, railway in North Eastern Region. Under the SARDP-NE including Arunachal Package of Roads and Highways, 1,514 km of road length worth Rs.20,065 crore has been completed in the last five years in the North East Region (NER). Under Bharatmala Pariyojana (BMP) roads stretches aggregating to about 5,301 km in NER have been approved for improvement. Out of this, 3246 km road length has been approved for development of Economic Corridors in the North East. Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), road length of 20,708 km has been constructed at a cost of Rs.9033.76 crore, thereby connecting 3,123 habitations in North Eastern Region. In respect of Rail Connectivity, during the last four years the entire North East Region has been converted to the Broad Gauge (BG) network. In respect of Air Connectivity, modernization and development of Airports have been taken up. This includes construction of a new integrated terminal building at Guwahati, Imphal and Agartala Airports; Extension of Runway at Dibrugarh Airport; Strengthening of Runway, Taxiway at Dimapur Airport; and upgradation works at Tezu Airport. Moreover, Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS-UDAN) has been launched to provide connectivity to unserved and underserved Airports within the country and to promote regional connectivity by making the airfare affordable through Viability Gap Funding (VGF). The North East has been kept as a priority area under RCS-UDAN.
Under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, projects worth Rs.1400.03 crore have been sanctioned for the North East Region in the last five years and Rs. 896.12 crore has been released for the same. Other major initiatives taken up in the North-East Region inter alia include Promotion of MSMEs in North Eastern Region and Sikkim, Comprehensive Telecom Development Project (CTDP) for the North-Eastern Region, Comprehensive Scheme for strengthening of Transmission and Distribution Systems (CSST&DS), North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP), Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region scheme, North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS), National Sports University at Imphal, Agartala-Akhaura Rail-Link to connect the existing Agartala station in Tripura to Akhaura Station of Bangladesh Railways, development of Brahmaputra and 19 new waterways including Barak.
Ministry of Civil Aviation has granted ‘Site Clearance’ and ‘In-principle’ approval on 18.01.2019 for setting up a New Greenfield Airport at Holongi, ltanagar, for which Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already initiated preparation of bidding documents. The State Government of Nagaland has proposed to set up a Greenfield airport at Ciethu, Kohima. As per the feasibility study conducted by the multi-disciplinary team comprising officials from Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and AAI in August, 2018; though the project is technically feasible, the financial implication of site development is exorbitant making the project financially unviable. A Greenfield airport at Pakyong, Sikkim was inaugurated on 24.09.2018 and is now operational. Tura airport, in the State of Meghalaya, is a non-operational airport. AAI has projected a requirement of 50.50 acres of land to the State Government of Meghalaya for the development of the airport for operation of ATR-72 type of aircraft.