After the landslide win in Tripura, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that victory could be achieved because of his government’s thrust to development in the North-Eastern region, we all were obliged to believe so. This was perhaps the first time that a Prime Minister of the country attributed an electoral victory to development. It was a welcome relief for the North-Easterners as they have always urged the government to use development as a potent weapon to fight the causes that made the North-East economically ailing. As general elections are nearing, one thought that the Central Government will put more thrust towards is developing the region if the ruling party has to fulfil its dream of winning 22 seats out of 25 from the region.
But quite shockingly it has now been revealed by the parliamentary standing committee attached to Surface Transport ministry in its recent report that the region is as neglected as ever. The report points out unnecessary delay in clearing road projects in the region which severely affects development. After going through the report if anyone forms the opinion that North-East will continue to suffer permanently because of the prevailing apathy towards the region, he or she should not be blamed. Rulers in Delhi are yet to realize that the best way of bringing back peace in this trouble-torn region is development. Any attempt to deal with the problems the region is facing as a mere law and order problem is bound to be counter-productive.
It’s a pity that even after seven decades of Independence our rulers are yet to bring development to the region. Some development must have taken place, but that’s not sufficient. The standing committee has pointed out that projects meant for NE were not delayed because of non cooperation of the state administration or the people of North-East. Rather, the projects are getting delayed as the central authorities are taking long to clear those proposals. This is inexplicable. Why the central government delays in sanctioning the proposals? Does it think that even behind development schemes there are some anti national elements? Why can’t they have full faith on local leadership who are elected by popular votes? Do they think that by giving green signals to various development projects they will actually end up helping other countries, not India? It is time now for the central authorities to come with proper explanation. It should keep it in mind that neglect is one of the reasons responsible for the growth of secessionism in this part of the country. Fortunately, the trend is now gone. North-Easterners are now all for development. By ensuring speedy economic development, the populace are aspiring to make up for lost time. This sentiment should be respected not by mere lip service but through real deeds. The planners should keep it in mind that North-Easterners are as patriotic as other Indians are. They have every right to be the soldiers of nation’s growth. That is their birthright. Any attempt to rob that right will be met with a befitting answer. The tendency to deprive North-East should be prevented at once. Otherwise, we will never be able to build a strong and united India.