PM assures support, to visit State
From Our Special Correspondent
New Delhi: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday assured a delegation of Congress leaders from Meghalaya that he would take up various pending and ongoing developmental works with respective ministries and personally visit the hill State during which he would grace one of the ‘big ticket’ projects.
The delegation comprising MPCC president Dr Friday Lyngdoh and AL Hek, Ampareen Lyngdoh and HDR Lyngdoh — all Cabinet ministers, met the Prime Minister at his residence on Thursday evening.
“Dr Singh also assured that he would sympathetically consider additional central assistance both for the ongoing and pending projects,” the delegation told The Shillong Times outside the Prime Minister’s residence at 7 Race Course Road after the meeting.
Highlighting details of the meeting, Ampareen said the Prime Minister was eager to know the up-to-date position on the four-lane Umiam-Jorabat and two-lane Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura roads.
These two roads are not only needed for faster communication within the State but also serve as vital links with the rest of the country, the delegation told the Prime Minister.
On rail connectivity with and within the State, Dr Singh said the Railway ministry has giving top priority to Meghalaya and other Northeastern states in the last budget. Both rail and road connections are needed for long needed economic transformation and proper exploitation of the mineral and forest rich state through increased trade and commerce, he said.
The delegation also reiterated the State’s demand for the proposed mega railway line project connecting all three regions of the State – Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills right upto the Bangladesh border.
The Prime Minister reiterated that there will be a non-lapsable fund for railway projects in the NE region to boost the progress of the projects.
All the state capitals of the region including Shillong would be connected with railway heads within the next five years through projects worth Rs 17,000 crore with funds drawn from a “national fund”, he added.
The Prime Minister also assured that the Centre would accord top priority to the landlocked state with reference to road and railway development in the absence of any waterways and very limited airways.
Dr Singh also agreed to provide special Central assistance to tackle the flood problem in the State with a rider that the projects reports should be forwarded by the State to the concerned ministry.
The delegation also discussed issues related to NEIGRIHMS and other centrally-aided institutes in the State.
“We spent at least 20 minutes with the Prime Minister who was very receptive to our ideas,” the group of four said, adding, “This shows his concern for the region which he represents in the Parliament.”