New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) India's northeastern states Thursday sought assistance from the central government to boost rail and road infrastructure and said that border trade facilitated by the centre's policies will help people residing in those region.
In their speeches at the National Development Council meeting, several chief ministers also drew attention to the need of expanding telecom connectivity.
Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said that connectivity was one of the biggest development challenges for his state.
He said that the state did not have an air or rail network and was dependent on road network.
"The government of India must assist in widening and improvement of the existing national highway and for construction of two-lane alternate highway connecting Gangtok from Sevoke in West Bengal," he said.
Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh called for timely release of central funds.
"This year the central fund releases has been particularly tardy," he said.
He said that the 'Look East' policy has not been fully operationalised and said that there should be increase in items which can be traded through land route.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said that cash transfer of subsidies will work to the detriment of poor.
"It will strengthen patriarchy with obvious all-round adverse consequences," he said.
Sarkar said that the 12th plan strategy was dominated by a desire to appease big corporates and financial interests and said it fails to address the issue of uneven development in the country.
The chief minister said that the process of development of infrastructure in Tripura has been painfully slow despite assurances from the central government.
He said that the Look East Policy, if implemented properly, has the potential to transform the northeastern region.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi called for upgrading airports in the state, expanding rail network and developing inland water transport in the state.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma called for a separate state-level funding window for the state under the Backward Regions Grant Fund due high proportion of tribal population.
He also drew attention to "inadequate telecom connectivity" saying it was a major infrastructure bottleneck.
Sangma said that opening of "border haats" has brought about renewed hope and has greatly improved the economy of the people residing along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that development of roads in the northeast deserves the highest priority due to development and strategic needs.
He also called for boosting rail connectivity in the state.