Agartala: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to convene a meeting of chief ministers of the northeastern states to resolve the problems of the region, an official said here Saturday.
The move came on Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s request, the official added.
He said Sarkar met Modi in New Delhi Friday and discussed issues of the region such as connectivity, policy intervention, infrastructure, agricultural, educational, health service and tourism.
He said: “The prime minister immediately agreed to convene a meeting to discuss strategies to resolve these issues.”
Sarkar told Modi that the northeastern states are geographically isolated from the mainland of the country and lack basic infrastructure.
Sarkar told Modi that rail and road connectivity to all state capitals followed by connecting district headquarters must be given highest priority, the official said.
The Tripura chief minister also demanded dependable air connectivity between the region and other parts of the country and also with the southeast Asian countries as envisaged in the ‘Look-East Policy’.
Sarkar said the huge untapped potentiality of resources to generate hydel and thermal power in the region must be exploited. Sarkar, also a politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), skipped the swearing-in ceremony of Modi as prime minister in New Delhi May 26.
Sarkar is now in New Delhi to attend the three-day CPI-M central committee meet that began Friday. “Agriculture and horticulture are the major source of livelihood in the region. Adequate investment, introduction of suitable technology and modern farming are to be initiated in a big way. Special attention is required to further develop the existing irrigation potential,” the chief minister apprised the prime minister.
Sarkar told Modi that five northeastern states – Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland – have 60 members each in the assemblies.
Sarkar also told Modi that “the minimum number of ministers for smaller states must be increased to 15 from the existing 12 by amending the constitutional provisions”, according to the official.
The official said the sale of surplus power from Tripura’s Palatana (726 MW capacity) and Monarchak (101 MW capacity) giant power plants to other parts of the country and supply of 100 MW power to neighbouring Bangladesh were also discussed.
“The prime minister assured the chief minister to take appropriate steps on all the issues raised by Sarkar,” the official added.