The government's focus on all- round development of the northeastern region will help the BJP emerge victorious in the poll-bound states of Tripura and Meghalaya, Union minister Jitendra Singh said today. Singh, who holds the independent charge of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, said the region's journey has been from "neglect to high priority" under the BJP-led NDA government. He cited a number of measures taken by the Centre, including amendment to the Forest Act to exclude bamboo from the definition of trees, which will boost economy in states like Tripura. The amendment of the forest act has been welcomed by tribals especially in Tripura as it would improve their earnings.
With this amendment now felling and transit of bamboo grown in non-forest areas will not be restricted, he told reporters. This could have been done a few decades ago, but no government has been as sensitive and concerned towards the Northeast as the Modi government is towards the region, he said. Sharing various another steps taken by the Centre for the development of the region, Singh said the government is all set to inaugurate an airport at Sikkim and is in process of upgrading the airport in Shillong in Meghalaya. Similarly, land for an airport has been identified in Arunachal Pradesh, he added. To make the region easily approachable and more accessible, the government has already working overtime to spread the rail network in the region, he said, adding that many new rail lines have already been approved in last three years. He also informed that Arunachal Pradesh will have the second Film and Television Institute of India after Pune. It will give a boost to the employability of Northeast youth and open avenues for exciting career choices in various domains of media and filmmaking, he added. Noting that the region is on top of the Modi government's development agenda, Singh said every fortnight one union minister visits one state in the region. The government is also considering running helicopter- based OPD to far-flung areas of the region, he said.
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