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NE Festival begins in Delhi

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Nov 8 � Identifying lack of communication as the root cause of underdevelopment of the north-eastern region of the country, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia said establishing connectivity in the region should be the primary focus of the Central government.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning was addressing the inaugural function of the �North East Festival � Connecting People, Celebrating Life� held at the IGNCA Ground here today. The inaugural function was attended by DoNER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, Editor-in-chief of TimesNow, Arnab Goswami, besides former ULFA leader Shasha Choudhury, among others.

He said that the Planning Commission is organising a meeting on January 28 with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review the progress made on infrastructure in the North East region. The meeting will be attended by all Chief Ministers of the region.

Prior to the mega meeting, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will organise another meeting in Guwahati to discuss the aspects on what the people expect on infrastructure development in the region and the private sector�s role in the development. The meeting will also be attended by all the Chief Ministers of the region, he added.

Winter in Delhi is yet to set in properly but it seems to be an open season for North East Fest. In the last three weeks, Delhi was host to as many fests. The organiser in-chief of the festival, Shyamkanu Mahanta said their North East Festival was distinct from others, as they have tried to bring in all participants from all the eight north-eastern States, besides hosting some �serious� discussions on core issues.

However, noted film personality, Adil Hussain, while addressing the function suggested that such festivals should be held in other parts of the country where awareness about the North East is less.

Pro-talk ULFA leader Shasha Choudhury, while appreciating the idea to hold festivals outside the North East, stressed that relations among the north-eastern States and among various communities of the region should grow up.

Addressing the meeting, the Minister DoNER said that despite the fact that the per-capita Plan outlays of the north-eastern States have, over the period of time, been considerably higher than the national average, the States still rank significantly below the national average in so far as the development of infrastructure is concerned.

�In terms of per-capita State Domestic Product or other development indices, such as power, length of roads or number of hospital beds, the North East ranks well below the national average. Though the literacy levels are higher than the national average, vocational training and entrepreneurial skills remain grey areas. Things in all the spheres are changing positively in the region but substantial efforts needs to be made consistently,� he said.

The Chief Minister of Meghalaya while addressing the event said that by and large North East is peaceful and stable but some quarters are painting the entire region as disturbed, which is not true. This is deterring the investors and tourists. The market in mainland is far from the region, therefore efforts should be made to develop trade relations with neighbouring countries,� he suggested.

Addressing the function, Arnab Goswami said that the MPs of the North East should speak out about issues of the region. But it has not happened. The North East MP�s Forum can become a major force.

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NE Festival begins in Delhi

NEW DELHI, Nov 8 � Identifying lack of communication as the root cause of underdevelopment of the north-eastern region of the country, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia said establishing connectivity in the region should be the primary focus of the Central government.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning was addressing the inaugural function of the �North East Festival � Connecting People, Celebrating Life� held at the IGNCA Ground here today. The inaugural function was attended by DoNER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, Editor-in-chief of TimesNow, Arnab Goswami, besides former ULFA leader Shasha Choudhury, among others.

He said that the Planning Commission is organising a meeting on January 28 with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review the progress made on infrastructure in the North East region. The meeting will be attended by all Chief Ministers of the region.

Prior to the mega meeting, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will organise another meeting in Guwahati to discuss the aspects on what the people expect on infrastructure development in the region and the private sector�s role in the development. The meeting will also be attended by all the Chief Ministers of the region, he added.

Winter in Delhi is yet to set in properly but it seems to be an open season for North East Fest. In the last three weeks, Delhi was host to as many fests. The organiser in-chief of the festival, Shyamkanu Mahanta said their North East Festival was distinct from others, as they have tried to bring in all participants from all the eight north-eastern States, besides hosting some �serious� discussions on core issues.

However, noted film personality, Adil Hussain, while addressing the function suggested that such festivals should be held in other parts of the country where awareness about the North East is less.

Pro-talk ULFA leader Shasha Choudhury, while appreciating the idea to hold festivals outside the North East, stressed that relations among the north-eastern States and among various communities of the region should grow up.

Addressing the meeting, the Minister DoNER said that despite the fact that the per-capita Plan outlays of the north-eastern States have, over the period of time, been considerably higher than the national average, the States still rank significantly below the national average in so far as the development of infrastructure is concerned.

�In terms of per-capita State Domestic Product or other development indices, such as power, length of roads or number of hospital beds, the North East ranks well below the national average. Though the literacy levels are higher than the national average, vocational training and entrepreneurial skills remain grey areas. Things in all the spheres are changing positively in the region but substantial efforts needs to be made consistently,� he said.

The Chief Minister of Meghalaya while addressing the event said that by and large North East is peaceful and stable but some quarters are painting the entire region as disturbed, which is not true. This is deterring the investors and tourists. The market in mainland is far from the region, therefore efforts should be made to develop trade relations with neighbouring countries,� he suggested.

Addressing the function, Arnab Goswami said that the MPs of the North East should speak out about issues of the region. But it has not happened. The North East MP�s Forum can become a major force.

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