Shillong, Oct 7 (IANS): DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday asked the governments of the eight northeastern States to prepare themselves for the benefits of India's bilateral trade with neighbouring countries.
"The northeastern States need to prepare themselves to take benefits of trade opening up with the neighbouring countries especially in regard to production of goods and services," Singh said addressing the first executive council meeting of the North Eastern Council (NEC), a regional planning body.
The eight northeastern States -- Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim -- share 5,437 km of India's international boundaries with China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The Minister for the Development of North Eastern Region, who is also the Chairman of the NEC, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi attaches a great deal of importance to the development of the Northeast. He reiterated that India cannot develop without developing the Northeast.
Acknowledging that connectivity has always been an issue for the region, Singh said that after the introduction of a flight between Delhi and Dimapur in Nagaland, he has initiated efforts to connect Mizoram capital Aizawl with Delhi.
"Discussions were held on various developmental activities in the region by the ministries of railways, road transport and highways, civil aviation, power, tourism, human resource development, skill development and entrepreneurship," he said.
The Railway Ministry informed that the broad gauge connectivity to Agartala will be completed by March 2016 and the rail line to Imphal by March 2019.
Work on the Dimapur-Zubza rail line will commence shortly while survey on the rail line to Shillong was also on, he said.
"The Prime Minister has advised all his colleagues to visit the region and personally monitor the implementation of their ministry's schemes in the Northeast for understanding the issues concerning each of the States," he said.