PM announces slew of measures for Assam (Roundup, Changing dateline)August 27th, 2008 - 12:47 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Guwahati, Aug 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday announced a series of developmental measures for Assam to raise its educational standards and infrastructure and the levels of its security forces, as also a Rs.2.50 billion grant for the integrated development of the Bodoland Territorial Council.The announcement in New Delhi late Tuesday came after the prime minister returned to the capital after a two-day visit to Assam, during which he met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his cabinet colleagues to discuss the issues raised in a memorandum they presented to him.
During the visit, the prime minister “reviewed the entire gamut of issues concerning development, security and welfare of the people of Assam” along with the chief minister and prominent members of his cabinet, an official statement issued in New Delhi said.
“He assured the state government that the problems of flood erosion, excise duty exemptions, broadband connectivity in rural areas, would receive serious consideration by the government,” it said.
“He declared that the central government would continue to make all possible efforts for the development of the people of the northeast, and that resources would not be allowed to become a constraint,” the statement added.
On the educational front, Manmohan Singh said the central government would set up a world-class university in Assam, with the state government providing suitable land.
The central government would also assist in establishing a state-level University of Science and Technology, a Science City and a Law School and Judicial Academy in Assam.
This apart, it will provide the necessary assistance for setting up a centre of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology in Assam and a national design institute at Guwahati on the pattern of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
The central government will also assist the Assam government in setting up a State Skill Development Mission to encourage employment and skill development among the youth.
Under the proposed centrally sponsored scheme for “Model Schools”, every block in Assam will get one such institution, the prime minister said.
On the infrastructure front, the ministry of road, transport and highways will take up the Ohola Sadiya bridge and the Numali-Gohpur bridge linking Jorhat to North Lakhimpur, both of which will be completed by 2013.
The state government will finalise the alignment and provide land for these at the earliest. The North Guwahati-South Guwahati link will be completed by December 2010, the prime minister said.
Flood control measures for the integrated development of Majuli, the world’s largest river island, will be accorded high priority and adequate funds will be provided for the purpose, the prime minister said.
An allocation of Rs.200 million, as additional central assistance for Majuli, will be made available to the Assam government.
Apart from the Rs.2.50 billion granted for the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), the state government will prepare and submit a plan for the integrated infrastructure development of the other autonomous councils of North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong.
These plans would be funded from a Rs.5 billion corpus announced by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for infrastructure development in the northeast.
“As requested by the chief minister of Assam, the central share in important schemes for rural water supply and rural sanitation has been enhanced to 90 percent for Assam, as also the other northeastern states,” the statement said.
The tourism ministry will also draw up a blueprint for the integrated development of tourism in the northeast, with Guwahati as the hub, the prime minister said.
This apart, the North East Industrial Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) will be suitably reworked so as to provide maximum advantage, the prime minister added.
On the security front, two India Reserve Battalions would be raised and deployed for riverine policing. The central government will help to train them and also provide specialized equipment.
The Border Security Force (BSF) will provide fixed border out posts (BOPs) in riverine areas to strengthen riverine patrolling, Manmohan Singh announced.