The Modi government has connected the Northeast with the rest of India like never before. Many projects stalled under previous governments have been completed. New ones have been undertaken.
Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, he has been pushing for development of the Northeast that was long overdue. His 'Act East' policy is bearing fruit and has been immensely praised by the people of the Northeast. Roads, bridges and airports have connected the states of the Northeast to the rest of India like never before.
However, what's strange is that Congress president Rahul Gandhi is not willing to accept the changes, and at a rally in Arunachal Pradesh's Itanagar on Tuesday, belittled the development projects undertaken by the Modi government in the Northeast.
Let's counter Rahul's claims and provide evidence here on how under Modi, the Northeast has witnessed a boom in infrastructure development and connectivity in the past five years.
1. Dhola Sadiya bridge
The 9.15 kilometre-long Dhola Sadiya bridge, or the Bhupen Hazarika Setu, which is the India’s longest bridge and connects Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, was completed during the Modi regime. It had seen a long delay and cost increases under the previous government.
The bridge is a crucial strategic asset for India, especially considering China's illegitimate claims over Arunachal Pradesh and frequent border tensions with India. The Dhola Sadiya bridge can handle 60-tonne tanks like India's Arjun and T-72 Main Battle Tanks. It will help in fast deployment of forces to the Arunachal border in case of a Chinese incursion or attack.
2. Bogibeel bridge
The 4.94 kilometre-long Bogibeel bridge above the mighty Brahmaputra in Assam, which is India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge, was inaugurated by Modi on December 25 last year. The foundation was laid in January 1997 by the then Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. The project was to be completed in six years from the date of inauguration, but real work did not begin until April, 2002 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
The bridge connects Dibrugarh and Dhemaji in Assam. It is located just around 20 km from the Assam-Arunachal border. It is also of immense strategic and military significance. It will strengthen national security by facilitating faster movement of armed forces and war equipment.
Also read: PM Modi's Christmas gift to nation: Assam's Bogibeel Bridge now functional
Travel time from Dibrugarh to Delhi will be cut short from 37 hours to 34 hours.
The bridge will link NH-37 on the southern bank and NH-52 on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra with a 29.47 km-long national highway.
The bridge will cut down rail distance (between Dibrugarh in Assam to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh) to below 200 km from 700 km.
The Prime Minister has also flagged off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express, which will run five days a week and use the 4.94-km bridge to cut down the train-travel time between Tinsukia in Assam to Naharlagun town in Arunachal Pradesh by more than 10 hours.
Modi also said that if Vajpayee had got another term as Prime Minister in 2004, the bridge would have been opened 10 years ago.
3. Big focus on highways
More than 4,000 km of national highways, with an investment of Rs 32,000 crore have been sanctioned by the Modi government, and nearly 1,200 km of roads have been constructed in the region.
The Centre has also invested Rs 60,000 crore under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in the region and Rs 30,000 crore under the Bharatmala Project. In addition, the 1,360 kilometre-long India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway is being built and it is expected to be completed by 2020,. It will open up the Northeast to the ASEAN countries which will boost the regional economy at large.
A 271-km two-lane national highway connecting Tura and Shillong in Meghalaya has already been inaugurated and dedicated to the nation.
4. Railway development
The Modi government has converted 900 km of tracks into broad gauge.
Tripura got its first Rajdhani Express, Humsafar Express and other long distance trains.
Meghalaya was brought into the railway map in 2014, 42 years after attaining statehood. It was the only state in the Northeast without a railway line. With the Dudhnai-Mendipathar project, linking Garo hills in Meghayala with Assam, Meghalaya finally got rail connectivity. The project was first sanctioned in the Union Budget of 1992-93 when PV Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister.
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam got their first ever Shatabdi Express trains.
5. Airports too...
Sikkim got its first airport — the Pakyong airport in September last year and the first commercial flight landed in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh.
It was India's 100th airport. The airport is located 4,500 feet above the sea level and is spread over 201 acres. The airport has 3,000 sq metre terminal building and a capacity to handle 50 in-bound and as many out-bound passenger planes.
Significantly, the airport is located 60 km from the India-China border.
It was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 605 crore and is an "engineering marvel" for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation techniques keeping in view the altitude it was built at.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) would be able to land various types of aircraft on the airport's runway with the construction of a 75-metre stretch adjacent to the main runway.
The foundation stone for the airport was laid in 2009.
A new international terminal is being built at the Guwahati airport.
6. Power generation
The 60 MW Tuirial hydropower project was inaugurated by PM Modi on December 16, 2017. It made Mizoram the third power surplus state in the region. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved the project in 2010.
Apart from these, the following projects for the Northeast are also in pipeline
• National Sports University in Manipur for which the foundation stone has already been laid.
• The Trans-Arunachal highway is being upgraded. It would extend from Tawang in the west to Kanubari in the east covering 1,559 Km.
• Manipur’s capital Imphal will be put on the railway map as the 110 kilometre-long Jiribam–Imphal railway line is under construction. The project is expected to be completed by 2020 and will connect Manipur to the rest of the country through Silchar, Haflong, Lumding and Guwahati in Assam. The project is planned to have 137 bridges and the tallest girder bridge in the world at 141 metres. The project will help in increasing tourist footfall in this part of the Northeast and also make the trasportation of agro-based products to the mainland easier.
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Last Updated Mar 21, 2019, 7:02 PM IST