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Modi’s Northeast Mission: Tripura’s last beacon of hope
Saumen Sarker
Modi’s Northeast Mission: Tripura’s last beacon of hope
PHOTO : PM Modi inaugurated Indian's longest Dhola-Sadiya Bridge over Brahmaputra river on Friday. TIWN Pic May 26

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of economically developed North Eastern region already fast-paced infrastructure developments in this neglected region. Central Govt’s top priorities reflected in its rapid expansion of Railways, National Highways, Bridges, Airports in past 3 years.

Prime Minister  on Friday formally inaugurated India’s longest bridge  the 9.15-km bridge connecting Dhola and Sadiya across the Brahmaputra – at Dhola, and named it after the legendray Bhupen Hazarika by saying that the latter was not only born by the great river at Sadiya, but had also sung his entire life to spread the story of the river across the world.

Prime Minister stated that his government’s primary stress has been on creating infrastructure that included roads, railways, aviation, waterways and bridges, Prime Minister Modi said he believed in giving permanency to development. ”Balanced development is possible if we create the twin rails of physical and social infrastructure. We don’t believe in temporary measures. Instead, we want to fulfil those dreams which can take the country forward with permanent development,” he said.

Due to Modi’s vision, India, Thailand and Myanmar are working on a 1,400-kilometre long highway that will link India with Southeast Asia by land for the first time in decades, giving a boost to trade and cultural exchanges between the three countries. Indian Ambassador to Thailand Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi said 73 bridges in Myanmar, built more than seven decades ago during World War II, were being renovated with funding from India to allow vehicles to cross the highway safely. The road will help in transportation of goods and further development of SMEs in North East India, he said, adding the tri-nation highway exemplifies India's "Act East" policy.

Modi’s Act-East policy paying dividends to Tripura and much neglected NE region with new infrastructures, connectivity to South Asian countries, integrating highways and business opportunities.

After Mumbai & Chennai, establishing India’s 3rd Internet Gateway at Agartala was a huge gift to Tripura but unfortunately inept State rulers failed to reap any economic benefits, neither utilized golden opportunity to establish IT Industries / ITES – IT enabled service sector using Bangladesh, South East Asia markets.

Tripura’s economic future was left at the mercy of few retirement-bound senior IAS officers who themselves posses no knowledge to leverage economic progress. Other than boot-licking the godfather for a post-retirement cozy nest, no other inspirations left in State’s Babudom.

Same goes with Modi Govt’s gift of Broad Gauge Railway in Tripura – rather than appointing right people to promote trade, transport via railways to boost Tripura economy, State rulers remained happy with the gala inauguration publicity.

Similar fate with State’s power - mismanagement, lack of interest in establishing  ‘clean-energy’ natural gas based industries continue in Tripura in addition to hundreds of crores dues to NEEPCO, OTPC by State’s power Ministry. In spite of claims by proud rulers that Tripura is a ‘load-shedding’ free State – fact is even today load-shedding continues across the State.

India’s main enemy in short-term is Pakistan but long-term enemy is China. Pakistan bleeding itself with huge loans and expenses to run organized terrorism & fall powerful army. Also other than narcotics business and Saudi Arabia’s donations, Pakistan’s future is bleak so India can deal it whatever way it wants in future. In contrast, China is focused on grabbing the whole South East Asian economy by expanding its business, military ties, soft loans to developing infrastructure in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal.

To counter China’s economic, military aggression – India is developing eastern sector, rapid infrastructures so that rich economy in North East will counter-blance China's influence and home-grown insurgencies in various States. .

India already developing trade routes to Bangladesh sea ports via South Tripura (Feni Bridge) in addition to another Myanmar's Dawei deep-sea port which will enhance regional trades in North East.

Myanmar's Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate project near the Thai border is also expected to help further integrate eastern India with South East Asian countries. The planned port can be linked up with India's Chennai port as well as Thailand's Laem Chabang Port on the other side of the ocean.

Modi’s ‘Act-East’ Policy is driving huge infrastructure development in NE region benefitting Tripura – however its also a fact that unless Modi get his own man in Tripura CM’s chair, how Modi’s team will actively fix State’s economy, job creations, funding of various developments? State’s population needs to decide whether they prefer development or organized corruption.

Assam, Arunachal, Manipur all on the right track for rapid development…but in Tripura where are we heading or achieved in past 25 years ?

Narendra Modi said proudly on Friday at Assam that“We have a dream of creating a new India by 2022. We want to bring about a work culture. The younger generation has realised that this government gives due respect to work. Women have found dignity. People have realised that this government respects honesty,”

Hopefully, 2018 Assembly Election results will usher in a new era in Tripura’s crippled economy. Narendra Modi’s vision of economic prosperity for North East region remains the last beacon of hope for Tripura and it lakhs of unemployed youths, deprived generations.

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