Connecting Diverse North-East within and to the mainland

North East presents a huge potential in terms of the contribution it can make to the country. However, historically, and unfortunately even since independence, the region has been administered in relative isolation. Further, this region shares international borders with four important countries – China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. –Debdeep Mukherjee*

 

In January 2014, the death of Nido Taniam, son of an Arunachal Pradesh legislator, had attracted widespread attention. The then BJP Prime Minister designate, Narendra Modi, had met students from the North East and had said ‘Students, I assure you that your pain and grievances are our pain and we will do all possible to help you in any issue’. While the racial mindset itself, may be more prevalent than being only against North Easterners but, all of these incidents do point at the consistent failure of India to integrate the 8 sister-states with the national mainstream.

The region also suffers from a poor digital infrastructure with unreliable tele connectivity. As of August 2013, BSNL was planning to improve Internet connectivity in the North East by connecting Tripura with international Internet gateway through Bangladesh. North East presents a huge potential in terms of the contribution it can make to the country. However, historically, and unfortunately even since independence, the region has been administered in relative isolation. Further, this region shares international borders with four important countries – China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The physical and administrative isolation, coupled with the poor awareness of the rest of the country of the North East is one of the big challenges. This is also one of the reasons why we have seen an uneducated attitude of Indians towards Northeasterners. This too needs to change immediately with people being educated of the Geography, History, and Society of this part of our India as well, and that
too right from schools.

Image: North East Cultural event at New Delhi | Credits: Insight Assam

No matter what has happened in the past, the present NDA discourse under PM Modi has very clear intentions to make NE gain access to infrastructure and all other due opportunities. Encouraging the students with Arunodoi like events to talking about. He has termed North East as the new engine of India’s growth and announced the launch of a Rs 60,00- crore scheme, ‘Sampada’, to promote the agro and food processing industry. The warmth was equally evident when he inaugurated the Dhola-Sadiya bridge across the Brahmaputra and named it after the legend Bhupen Hazarika. The government has adopted five paths to take India’s Ashtalakshmi (the eight Northeastern states) forward. These involve highway, railway, waterway, airway and information way (optic fibre network).

Attracting tourists to North East is also on the government agenda as if more tourists keep coming in, the integration would be easier as the meetings would ease the gap between communities. Religious tourism can play a big role in this. After all, the Northeast is today’s our biggest natural resource to attract tourists
from all over the world.

 

 


*Debdeep Mukherjee is editor working with Daily Mail

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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The Kootneeti Team

This report has been written by The Kootneeti Team. For any feedbacks/query reach Editor@thekootneeti.com || Twitter: @TheKootneeti

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