The 61st NEC Plenary Meet was held on 27-06-2012 in New Delhi where the Hon’ble Members of the Council i.e. His Excellencies the Governors and Hon’ble Chief Ministers of North Eastern States and their representatives had attended the brain storming sessions and the Planery session. Issues pertaining to the North Eastern States such as development of Transport and Communication, Tele-communication, Civil Aviation, Railways, Development of various Sectors that are crucial to the economic progress of the regions were discussed. Special presentations on the Action Plan prepared for North Eastern Region will be made by Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministry of Civil Aviation were made.
Members present include Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Governor of Assam, Chief Secretary of Manipur, Governor of Meghalaya, Chief Minister of Mizoram, Governor of Nagaland, Chief Minister of Nagaland, Governor of Sikkim, Governor of Tripura, Chief Minister of Tripura, Dy. Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Minister Planning of Assam and three members of NEC.
NEC had performed exceedingly well on many of its slated functions including infra-structure development in the field of Transport & Communication, Power, Health, Education, Sports, Agriculture, etc. For the Financial year 2011-12, NEC had released Rs. 693.00 crs, out of the total budget allocation of Rs. 700.00 crs, accounting for over 99 %. Releases made for the last Five Year Plan under different sectors can be seen from the table below. During each Annual Plan during the currency of the 11th FYP i.e., 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, the actual budget allocations provided for the NEC were the amounts of Rs. 600 crores, Rs. 624 crores, Rs. 624 crores, Rs. 700 crores and Rs. 700 crores, respectively. Thus, the actual amount allocated during the Eleventh Five Year Plan comes to Rs.3248.50 crores only. Even if we understand the difficulties of the Planning Commission in allocating the approved outlay, it is disheartening to note that, in successive Five Year Plans, the ratio of actual allocations and respective Plan Outlays is coming down. During the 10th Five Year Plan, the ratio was Rs. 2,511.50 crores out of an approved outlay of Rs. 3500.00 crores, thus showing 71.76% of outlay as allocation. As far as the 11th Five Year Plan is concerned, the ratio has come down drastically – Rs. 3248.50 crores of actual allocation in a total of approved outlay of Rs. 7394.00 crores, thus showing 43.93% of outlay as allocation.
NEC had convened a number of Working Groups for the 12th Five Year Plan under Transport and Communication Sector, Power, Health, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Human Resource Development and Employment Sectors. NEC had also prepared a Comprehensive Tourism Master Plan for the entire North Eastern States identifying tourist circuits and Preparation of Health Workforce Development Plan for the NER.
9 (Nine) Inter-State tourist circuits have been finalized for taking up in the first phase of the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan. They are:
There was an in-depth discussion on issues such as
(i) Air Connectivity for all the region , inter state, intra state as well as outside of the Region. The need to have small helipads for small aircrafts were highlighted by members of the August house as Road connectivity is very poor in hilly regions where there are no PPP mode of investment and acute fund constraint.
(ii) Agricultural related issues such as provision of Irrigation system across the states of the North Eastern Region for improved agricultural productivities, as to a very large extend, the NER is fully dependent on agricultural products. Soil conservation programme needs to be taken up immediately as top soil are being depleted extensively because of deforestation as well as heavy rain through out the year. The need for Special Agriculture Policy for the region was emphasized.
(iii) The need for attracting investment, both private and Government, in the North East Region is extremely important in Industry sector for generation of employment.
(iv) Power supply being extremely important, the need for setting up small, mini and medium power projects were emphasized. An expert committee for studying the safety of dams needs to be constituted.
(v). Road connectivity between inter state, intra state amongst the rural areas need to be taken on priority.
(vi) The house was informed that the Churaibai-Agartala of NH-44 which is about 200 kms length and of which 85 km is already 2 laned. 2 laning of 49kms has been included in current Annual Plan. DPR for the Agartala-Sabrooni of about 130 kms is under preparation.
(vii) There was a need raised to re address many of the requirement under central Govt. policies such as the requirement of 100 mtrs for a bridge to be taken up under PMGSY should be reduced to 50mtrs in North East Region.
(viii) The house was informed that Railway network of the North East Region as on 1.4.12 is 2497kms Board Gauge, 1324 km Meter Gauge and 87km Narrow Gauge , totaling 3908 kms. The Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) 13 km new line and Lungdim-Hojal-Patch Doubling of 45 kms are being taken up during current Financial Year.
Projects already surveyed and pending with Planning Commission for approval include (a) the 58 kms Barpeta Road for Rs. 520 crs.,(b) 344 kms Chaparmukh- Dibrugarh, via Salona, Khumtai, for Rs. 3491 cr.,(c) Dangri-Dhola for 48 cr., (d) 257 kms Dimapur-Tizit for Rs. 4274 cr., (e) 18 kms Dullabchera-Cheragi for Rs. 110 cr., (f) 20 kms Lalabazar-Vairengte for 364 cr., (g) 98 kms Rupai-Parashuramkund via Mahadeva, Namsai, Chingkham for 1289 cr., (h) 9 kms Tuli line- Tuli town for 109crs.
(ix) Three hubs for parking big aircraft in Guwahati, Imphal, Agartala and Dibrugarh are being taken up. Hub at Guwahati will serve as the regional hub. Hubs include night landing and night parking facilities Expansion of Apron for parking more Aircraft and construction of new building in Gwt Airport under way. Development of Tezu Airport is already started.