GUWAHATI, May 20: BJP president Amit Shah today said improved relations with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan under Prime Minister Narendra Modi would transform the economy of the northeastern region, leading to higher growth.
“The Prime Minister’s initiative to sign the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh will lead to development in the region and within five to ten years the ports in the neighbouring country will carry goods produced in the northeast,” he said.
The agreement will also open the Bangladesh market for products manufactured in the North East, the party president said.
Shah was addressing the third conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) here, attended by six chief ministers of the region.
He charged that Assam and some states of the region, which had one of the highest growth rates in country during independence, had gone down drastically during the Congress rule, Shah said.
“It is Modi-ji who gave prime importance to the region, analysed and understood the problems and evolved ways to bring about development.
“If the states follow the measures initiated by the Prime Minister, there can be positive results and the North East can achieve a very high growth rate,” he said.
During the last four years, the Prime Minister has taken measures to bring peace in the region, solve border disputes between nations and states and ensure corruption-free Governments in the region.
“Modi has improved relations with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar leading to peace in the region, secured the 5,000-kilometre long international border and initiated the Act East Policy, leading to greater economic ties with South East Asian countries,” the BJP president said.
The NEDA, which comprises BJP and its allies in the region, has a big role to play in the implementation of the Act East Policy and transform the economy of the region, the BJP leader said.
“The people of the region have realised that it is the BJP Government under the Prime Minister who can bring about development and transform the region,” he said.
Earlier during Congress rule, corruption was rampant in the North East but now BJP and its allies have ensured that the region has moved away from “briefcase politics to development politics and will soon emerge as a large contributor to the nation’s economy,” Shah said.
The BJP Government has taken special initiative to increase air, rail, road and IT connectivity in the North East.
The Government has sanctioned 5300 km of road construction and road connectivity with Myanmar and Thailand has started, he said adding broad guage conversion is almost complete.
He said several initiaves to improve air connectivity in the region has been taken.
The Prime Minister has also ensured that bamboo be declared a grass so that the people in the region can earn their livelihood and the paper-making industry can benefit.
Shah accused successive Congress Governments at the Centre of neglecting the North East and only using its elected representatives to ensure majority in Parliament.
But, he said the “BJP, both under Atal Behari Vajpayee and Modji, has acknowledged their rights and their importance in the national mainstream.”
“NEDA has been formed not just as a political alliance but also as a geo-cultural alliance.
It is obvious that when political parties come together, there will be political alliances but we have come together to unite people, their language, heritage and culture inspite of their diversity,” he added.
There are 217 tribes and 185 languages spoken in the region and “they are not our burden but our strength. The NEDA will strive to unite them and help develop the region.”
The NEDA will also soon launch its youth and women’s wing, the party president added. (PTI)