AGARTALA/ITANAGAR, Jan 19 � The North Eastern states have asked for a special �connectivity and communication package� to attract investment and boost tourism and industrial development in the region, officials said today, reports IANS.
�The Centre must announce a connectivity and communication package for the NE states, without which there will be little possibility of industrialisation and investment to this industry-starved region,� said a senior official in Agartala.
He was briefing reporters on the State Finance Ministers� pre-budget meeting with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The ministers at the meeting called for building adequate road links to the scattered hamlets in the mountainous northeastern region.
�The Prime Minister�s Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) as it stands now provides for connectivity to villages with a minimum population of 500. This norm may be brought down to 100 so that tribal hamlets, which dot the entire NE and which typically have less than 500 inhabitants, get road connectivity,� said Tripura Finance Minister Badal Choudhury.
His speech was read out in his absence by R.K. Vaish, special resident commissioner of the state in Delhi.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma requested Mukherjee to declare a special package to further develop industry and tourism in the NE region.
On rising unemployment in the region, the official quoted the ministers as saying that total dependence on the private sector in this regard may not be desirable.
�Moreover, in NE, private sector is almost non-existent and state governments have to shoulder much of the burden of education and health care to name a few. Lack of employment opportunities would give rise to serious social unrest.�