ITANAGAR, July 9 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday suggested the regional planning body, North Eastern Council (NEC), for expanding its activities to bring sustainable development in the region.
�It has been more than 46 years since the inception of NEC. It is no doubt that NEC has played a crucial role in funding important development projects in the region. However, time has now come that NEC expands its role from (being) a mere funding agency to act as a premier think tank of the region which can guide the Northeastern States in bringing sustainable development in the region,� said Khandu while addressing the plenary session of NEC, at Shillong.
He said, to achieve the same, there is a need to bring in domain experts in NEC on developing a clear-cut roadmap for ushering massive investments in the region. �Not only does Northeastern region require adequate funds, but it also requires technical experts who can suggest ways to bridge the massive divide between NE and rest of India,� he advocated.
Pointing that Arunachal Pradesh was struggling to tap its potential due to lack of human resource and technology, the Chief Minister urged the NEC to �institute a detailed study as to how the massive area of the State can act as a boon for the region�.
Khandu further said, NEC must also find ways to showcase best practices of the States in NE which can be replicated so that we all benefit from this common forum. �Recently, NITI Aayog has formed NITI Forum for North East to address the regional imbalance in the region. I would urge NEC to use this opportunity to emerge as the Planning Body of NE by tying up with NITI Aayog.�
Reiterating that Arunachal Pradesh has lagged behind on most of the socio-economic indicators as compared to the rest of India and even within the NE region �due to historical neglect�, the Chief Minister implored the regional plan body to assist the State Government for development of connectivity sector particularly road and air connectivity, hydropower, agriculture and allied sector.