Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that he is correcting the “historical mistake” committed by governments since Independence of neglecting Assam, as he gifted a bouquet of development projects worth about Rs 10,000 crore to the state ahead of the assembly polls. Modi also said BJP’s double engine governments at the Centre and in Assam reduced geographical and cultural distances between the state and rest of the country.
“Prior to Independence, Assam enjoyed a high per- capita income but since 1947 its development was neglected. Correcting the historical mistake of neglecting Assam had begun with former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and now it has gained strength with the BJP government taking its development as a priority,” he said.
The prime minister, who was in Assam for a second time in less than a fortnight, had unleashed a development offensive in the run up to the state polls on February 7 when he had launched and dedicated to the nation infrastructure projects involving Rs 9,310 crore. The prime minister virtually launched the Rs 3,231- crore ‘Mahabahu Brahmaputra’ project on Thursday, which includes the construction of an inland water terminal at Jogighopa and tourist jetties at Pandu, Jogighopa, Neamati and Biswanat ghat.
Modi said developing waterway connectivity as part of the project will provide an alternative route to connect the northeast with other parts of India and neighbouring countries. “The Brahmaputra is not just a river, it is the manifestation of the great saga of the north east’s ethnic diversity and the region’s harmonious co-existence.
However, Modi said the irony is that instead of considering the Brahmaputra as ‘Assam’s Pride’, since Independence, the river was treated as ‘Assam’s Sorrow’ due to floods and erosion caused by it. “Our government since coming to power made sincere attempts to realise Brahmaputra’s innumerable blessings,” the PM said.
He also laid the foundation of the country’s longest river bridge of 19 km from Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya at an estimated cost of Rs 5,000 crore, and the 8-km Jorhat-Majuli bridge. The prime minister laid the foundation of the Rs 350- crore North East Data Centre at Guwahati, too, along with the e-portals PANI and CAR-D for ease of doing business.
Developing connectivity through roadways, railways, airways and inland waterways will help realise the aspirations of the people of Assam and make the region the growth centre of the country, he said. Efforts are underway to make the state and the northeast the hub of cultural and business relations with other East Asian countries, Modi said.