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New Delhi, July 23, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone for a Rs 3,000 crore water supply project that would reduce the problems in water supply in the state.
Speaking on the occasion through video conference, Modi said even as the country was fighting relentlessly against COVID-19, Eastern and North Eastern India had also to face dual challenges of heavy rain and floods which cost many lives and rendered many homeless.
He noted that the Manipur Government had made all the necessary arrangements during the lockdown and special arrangements for the return of the migrants. About 25 lakh poor in Manipur have received free food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. Similarly, more than 1.5 lakh women have been given the facility of free gas cylinders under the Ujjwala scheme, he said.
Referring to the Water Supply Project, he said it would especially provide a huge relief to the women of the State. Apart from Greater Imphal, the project would benefit 25 small towns and 1,700 villages. The project has been designed keeping in mind the needs of the next two decades.
With this project, millions of people will have access to clean drinking water at their home and thousands of people will also get employment.
Modi said the Jal Jeevan Mission was launched in the country last year with a target of providing piped water to more than 15 crore houses. Today, about one lakh water connections were being installed every day in the country, with the participation of the people.
Ease of Living was a necessary prerequisite for a better life and the right of all including the poor, he added.
He said steps have been taken in the last six years, at every level, in every field, to improve the ease of living, especially for the poor. He expressed happiness that today the whole of India including Manipur was free from open defecation. LPG gas has reached the poorest of the poor, every village is connected by good roads and pucca houses wre being provided to the homeless.
Work was on in a mission mode to provide safe drinking water to every household. Better life was also directly linked to connectivity. He said the connectivity of the North East was essential for a secure and sure Atmanirbhar Bharat. It would give a fillip to India’s Act East Policy and also provide a gate way to country’s travel and tourism sector, he said.
Modi said modern infrastructure was being developed in the North East along with roadways, highways, airways, waterways and i-ways as well as gas pipelines. In the last six years, thousands of crores of rupees have been invested in the development of infrastructure in the entire North East.
He said efforts have been made to connect the four capitals of the North East states, two-lane roads to the district headquarters and all-weather roads to the villages. To achieve this, he said about 3,000 km of roads have been laid and projects are being implemented to lay another 60,000 km of roads.
The Prime Minister said there was a huge improvement in the area of rail connectivity in the North East with projects to build new railway stations and convert the existing rail network into broad gauge. Similarly, the work of connecting the capitals of every state of the North East with the rail network was progressing at a fast pace for the last two years.
Apart from roads and railways, the air connectivity of North East was equally important. Today, there were about 13 operational airports in the North East. More than Rs 3,000 crore was being spent to modernise the existing airports in the North East including Imphal Airport, he said.
The Prime Minister referred to the more than 20 national waterways including the ones in the North East, which would provide seamless connectivity.
The North East was a representative of India’s cultural diversity and cultural strength. It had a great tourism potential that remained unexplored. The North East should become the growth engine of the country, he added.
He said today the youth and people of North East were opting for development and progress and shunning violence. Blockades in Manipur were now a part of history.
The people in Assam, Tripura and Mizoram have now abandoned the path of violence. The Bru-Reang refugees were moving towards a better life, he said.
Referring to the great potential of the bamboo industry of the North East and its capacity to develop organic products, Modi said clusters were being developed for value addition and marketing of local products under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign.
Agro start-ups and other industries will benefit from these clusters. The North East has the potential to replace India's bamboo imports with local production. “There is such a huge demand for incense sticks in the country, but still we import billions of rupees worth incense sticks,” he said.
Hundreds of crores of rupees were being invested under the National Bamboo Mission for bamboo farmers, artists associated with handicrafts and other facilities. This will benefit the youth of the North East and the start-ups in the region, he added.
The Prime Minister said that several institutes were now being built in the North East for health, education, skill development, start-ups and other training. With the launch of the Sports University and world-class stadiums, Manipur will become a major hub for the country's sports talent, he added.