Congress committed to working for northeast development: PM

February 19th, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Agartala, Feb 19 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was according topmost priority to curbing insurgency and economic development of the northeastern region. “You know that only the Congress party has started talks with the terrorist groups in northeast to bring them to the mainstream of peace,” Singh said while addressing an election rally at Udaipur, 55 km from here.

“We have succeeded in bringing back some of the militant outfits in the path of peace.”

He added: “Since the UPA government came to power at the Centre, it has been trying to connect all the northeastern states by road, rail and air.”

The UPA government has allocated Rs.2.5 billion to Tripura to connect all villages in the state by roads, he pointed out.

The prime minister said that the Congress was the only party that “cares” for the well being of the northeastern region.

Tripura will go to assembly polls Feb 23, followed by Meghalaya March 3 and Nagaland March 5. The counting of votes will be held for Tripura and Meghalaya March 7 and for Nagaland March 8.

Like Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Singh too appealed to the people to oust the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left front government and vote the Congress to power in Saturday’s polls. Gandhi had addressed two election rallies in Tripura Monday.

The Congress has a pre-poll alliance with the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and the Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS).

“Time has come for a change in Tripura,” Singh said, adding that if Congress comes to power the new government would make all efforts to remove the difficulties of people.

“It is a serious concern that a small state like Tripura has more than 500,000 unemployed youths and the state government did not take any efforts to set up medium and major industrial units in the state.”

The prime minister announced that from April, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) would cover all the four districts of Tripura. So far the UPA government has provided Rs.1.5 billion for the benefit of people under this programme in three of the four districts, he said.

Referring to the 750 MW power project, for which he laid the foundation stone in October 2005 at Palatana, five km from the meeting venue, Singh said that the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) had already started work to commission this mega project.

Singh also explained how the UPA government has provided huge financial assistance to Tripura in health, insurance, women’s development besides improvement of tribals and other backward communities.

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