Utilize potential of NE region for economic uplift: Modi

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Imphal, Dec 1: Terming the Northeastern region as an economic zone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his brief visit to Manipur on Sunday talked about utilizing the potential of the region.

He was addressing the closing function of the 10-day Manipur Sangai Festival, an annual tourism festival hosted by the Manipur government as the chief guest.

In response to Manipur chief minister’s request for Centre’s assistant in taking all round development of the state, Modi indirectly criticized the Congress-led UPA government stating that Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi was making the request as UPA had done nothing for the development of the region.

“The chief minister is seeking assistant from my government as previous governments has done nothing for the state. He (Ibobi) is seeking the assistants from me as he has full confidence that my government will do something for his state and I am sure I will do whatever I can do for the state,” the Prime Minister said.

However, Modi declined comment on Ibobi’s reminder that his government and people of the state were against disintegration of state’s territory.

Earlier, in his speech welcoming the Prime Minister on his maiden visit, chief minister Ibobi maintained that people of the state wanted to live in peace and harmony together with people of other neighbouring states. Like Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur will not sacrifice an inch of land to please a section of the people, said Ibobi. “It is our firm stand and we believe that Prime Minister will keep this in mind” while bringing an end to the vexed Naga solution, Ibobi said.

Modi said he has been asking to experts in different fields including IT why they did not invest in the region where there were huge potentials.

The region has a huge potential for developing tourism industries and pointed out that Manipur has more scope than other states. By developing the tourism industries, it not only bring about a marked change in the socio-economic condition but could generate jobs for the local youths, he said.

The Prime Minister also said that the country should allow talented youths of Manipur who have been stars of the nation not only in the field of sports but also in the field of arts and culture.

The Prime Minister further elaborated on his government’s decision to establish a sports university in the state. The proposed university would not only be able to nurture sporting talents but also enable them to utilize skills in various fields related with sports, he said.

He further mentioned about the assurance the Australian government had given to him during his recent visit on supporting the establishment of the sports university.

NE youth in Delhi police: The Prime Minister also talked about the possibility of recruiting youths from the Northeastern states to Delhi police in the backdrop of increasing crimes against people of the region. He wanted to see how the people of the region controlled public order in the national capital. “This will be materialized at the earliest”, he said.

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