M’laya among the fastest growing states: PM

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday urged the people of the State to vote for Congress on February 23 to enable the party to continue the good work that is being done for the citizens.

“The State has been making effective use of the schemes and programmes initiated by the UPA Government at the Centre, but there are many unfinished tasks that need to be completed,”

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said while speaking at a Congress rally at Polo Ground here.

Describing Meghalaya as one of the fastest growing states not only in the North Eastern region, but across the country, the Prime Minister said Meghalaya’s economic growth has doubled to Rs 4000 crore in the last three years which projects that the State has achieved a faster growth rate than what was targeted in the 11th Five-year Plan.

“The State has utilized well the resources made available to it under the flagship programmes of the Centre,” Dr Singh said.

“Effective implementation of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the mid-day meal programme has resulted in near universal education at the primary level and school dropout rates at the primary and upper primary levels have reduced a lot,” the Prime Minister stated.

“The party has been able to provide an honest, transparent and effective administration which has taken care of the poor and the underprivileged,” he added.

Commenting on the infrastructure in the State, Dr Singh noted with pride the different road projects being implemented in the State like the Shillong-Guwahati four-lane road, Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura road and the Shillong-Silchar road which is being widened with two bypasses in Shillong and Jowai.

“We know that good connectivity is a critical requirement for Meghalaya,” he said.

The Prime Minister also asserted that self-governing bodies would be further empowered and women would be allowed greater say in administrative decision making.

“We believe that this will help Meghalaya derive more benefits from the Central schemes being implemented in the State,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister also commended the State Government for launching the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme.

He also highlighted other achievements of the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) Government in the State and the UPA government at the Centre and claimed that the Congress-led UPA has been able to achieve a faster rate of poverty alleviation than ever before.

The Prime Minister also asserted that six new horticulture hubs have been commissioned in the State along with an integrated farmers’ market at a cost of Rs 18 crore and a regional horticulture training centre.

Stating that Meghalaya’s topography is ideal for development of horticulture, Dr Singh said that the State has made significant progress in production of fruits like strawberries, pineapples and oranges.

He was also happy with Meghalaya’s progress in the floriculture sector and commended the State Government for taking full advantage of the Centre’s Horticulture Mission for the North East and Himalayan states.

The Prime Minister also spoke on the need to work for realizing the immense potential of Meghalaya and for providing better employment opportunities to the State’s youths.

Shedding light on the achievements of the Congress-led Government, the Prime Minister said attention to the health sector has led to improvement in the delivery of health services to the people particularly in rural and remote areas. “It is a big achievement that no new case of endemic polio has been reported in the country,” he said.

He also mentioned that the percentage of poor people in the country has declined by about two and half times since 2004 as compared to the previous decades.

Introduction of Right to Education and Right to Information Acts has been a major success for the Congress-led government, Dr Singh said, adding that Central assistance to the annual plan of North Eastern state has increased 3 to 4 times in the last five years.

The devolution under 13th Finance Commission to the North Eastern states is double the devolution under the 12th Finance Commission, he said.

The Prime Minister also credited the approval of the proposed National Institute of Technology at Cherrapunjee and the proposed creation of a Rs 100 crore sub-station at Byrnihat to draw power for Meghalaya from the Palatana Gas based project in Tripura, to the Congress-led Government.