Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that Manipur and the Northeastern region will be the hub of India’s developmental mission and the under construction highways in the state would be linked with the southeast Asian countries to boost international trade.
The Prime Minister said that under the “Act East dream” ambitious projects on tourism and connectivity are being implemented with all seriousness while peace has been restored in the region. “Hundreds of militants of the Northeastern region have shunned the path of violence and joined the mainstream of development,” Modi said, while addressing a public gathering at Hapta Kangjeibung ground in Imphal after inaugurating 13 projects and laying foundation stones of nine projects with a total investment of Rs 4,815 crore.
He said that tourism potentialities of Manipur and the Northeastern region are being fully utilised with all types of connectivity. “Before becoming the Prime Minister, I had visited Manipur and witnessed the situation of the state then. There is a sea change in the state now. The entire government of India was brought to the doorsteps of Manipur people. A large number of Central ministers and leaders are working as ‘sevaks’ of the region. Five Central ministers are now from the region.” Highlighting the achievements of Manipuri youths in the field of international sports, the Prime Minister said that youths especially the girls are bringing huge laurels for the country.
“From the Commonwealth games to the Olympics, the Manipuri boys and girls are lifting the Indian flags in the international sports arena. From wrestling to archery, boxing, weightlifting, the Manipur boys and girls are performing with great success. M.C. Mary Kom, Mirabai Chanu, Bimola Devi, Laishram Sarita Devi are among the big sports personalities who are all from Manipur. The Indian youths are taking inspiration from the Manipuri sports personalities,” the Prime Minister said.
He said that with the establishment of the modern sports university in Manipur, Indian sports would go further in the sports world across the globe. “It was Moirang in Manipur where the first time the national flag was unfurled (by the Indian National Army headed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose) and the same Manipur is in the path of growth now.”
The Prime Minister said that to undertake the National Palm oil cultivation mission in a bigway, Rs 11,000 crore worth schemes have been undertaken by the Central government to make India ‘Aatmanirbhar’ in this sector. The Northeast region, including Manipur would also be benefited through the Palm oil cultivation, he asserted.
Without naming the previous Congress government, the Prime Minister said that Manipur was earlier a ‘blockade state’ and some people are still trying to create problems and instigate violence to hinder the development of the state.
Modi appreciated the state government’s schemes — “Go to Hills” and “Go to Village” to develop the mountainous areas and undertake welfare measures for the people.
The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for National highways with a project cost of more than Rs 1,700 crore, over 2,350 mobile towers built at a cost of around Rs 1,100 crore and State of the Art 150-bedded Cancer Hospital.
He also inaugurated the newly built 200-Bedded Covid Hospital, Water Transmission system of Thoubal Multi-purpose project and a vital steel bridge over the Barak River on National Highway-37.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh in his speech highlighted the developmental projects undertaken by the Central and state governments for the development of the state and welfare of the people.
Governor La Ganesan, Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education Rajkumar Ranjan Singh among others were present in the event.
The Prime Minister virtually kick-started the campaign for the Assembly elections in Manipur. Elections to the 60-seat Manipur Assembly are likely to be held in February-March next year along with the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa.
Extensive security arrangements had been made in Manipur for the Prime Minister’s programme with most areas in greater Imphal declared Red Zone where the use of drones and other sensitive materials were banned and movement of private and public vehicles were restricted.
Coordination Committee (CorCom), a conglomerate of seven Manipur-based armed outfits, has called a boycott to the PM’s visit and imposed a total shutdown from 1 a.m. of Monday midnight till the departure of the PM alleging “attempts were being made to expand colonial administration in Manipur”.
The National Revolutionary Front, Manipur (NRFM) has also called a 12-hour bandh in Manipur on Tuesday.