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DoNER Minister backs Rajnath on land pact

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, April 6 � In what could lead to further discomfiture of the local State BJP leaders, Minister DoNER Dr Jitendra Singh has endorsed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh�s ratification of the controversial Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh in the Parliament.

�I am one with the Home Minister; we are satisfied with what he has said and there is a need to ratify the Land Boundary Agreement,� the DoNER Minister told newsmen here this afternoon.

During a tour of West Bengal last week, the Union Home Minister had said that the land boundary deal with Bangladesh should be implemented on humantarian grounds.

He was however, non-committal whether a Constitution amendment Bill, needed to implement the deal, would be passed in the Budget Session of the Parliament which resumes on April 20 after the recess.

�We want the Land Boundary Agreement to be passed in Parliament through consensus. It should happen. I can�t say when, but we are trying our best,� Singh said.

Asked whether the pact would be ratified when the Budget Session resumes after the break, Singh said it was difficult for him to say, but appealed to the opposition parties to support it. �All political parties should support the agreement. It is in the interest of the country,� he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Singh underscored the need for a peaceful environment in the North-east for faster economic development of the region.

Admitting that restoration of a peaceful environment in the North-east was essential for development, Dr Singh said that the Prime Minister had made some important announcements. �Unless a peaceful atmosphere is established, development cannot take place fully,� he said.

Skirting the issue of slow progress in the negotiation process with the militant outfits, the Minister DoNER said that the dialogues were being handled by the Home Ministry. �But we are in close touch with the Home Ministry on this and there is improvement in the situation as compared to earlier times,� he said.

Meanwhile, the DoNER Minister claimed that the concept of rotation of the DoNER Secretariat among the north-eastern states had become a success. �The idea is that the people can feel that Delhi can come to their doorstep. That is why we have called it �DoNER at your doorstep�,� he said.

According to the Prime Minister�s instructions every fortnight a minister from the Centre would tour the North-east. In every state at least one minister would be present, so that they can monitor the development activities, know the area and instill confidence among the local people that the Centre cares for them and gives priority to resolution of their problems, he said.

�We have tried to establish close contacts with the states and to remove the psychological barrier. After 10 years for the first time the North Eastern Council (NEC) meeting was held in Shillong in which the Chief Ministers and Governors participated,� Dr Singh said.

Meanwhile, the next meeting of the NEC will be held here on April 9-10, official sources said.

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