DIMAPUR, Sept 23 - Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang has emphasised on the importance of rail and road connectivity in the North East to boost trade and commerce in the border areas and with the Southeast Asian countries.
Addressing the North East Connectivity Summit on the theme �Connect Northeast, 2016� in Agartala yesterday, Zeliang lamented that there are still vast gaps to be filled in infrastructure and said if border trade and people to people connectivity were to be improved in the region, the first priority should be construction of quality highways and railways connecting the region with the mainland on the one hand, and with the neighbouring Southeast Asian countries on the other�, according to a release issued by CMO.
The release said he opined that once this is achieved, the geographical location of the region will become central and strategic in terms of international trade and development. He also suggested that the Government of India�s Act East Policy should aim to bring this about.
The Summit was organised by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and supported by Government of Tripura, Ministry of DoNER and NEC.
�The most practical and convenient road and rail connectivity between India and Southeast Asian countries should run through Kohima to Moreh via Imphal,� Zeliang said and reminded that the historic battle of Kohima during WW II was fought for control of this strategic route that would have provided Japanese forces to enter the plains of India, the CMO said.
It said Zeliang also made a strong plea that the East-West corridor which presently ends at Silchar in Assam should be extended from Doboka to Moreh via Kohima and Imphal, pointing out that a highway already connects Moreh with Kuala Lumpur. He also suggested that the railway line should run more or less with this alignment, and appealed for a re-look by the Government of India into the broad gauge line from Diphu (Dhansari) to Karong (Manipur). He pointed out that this route would be shorter by 125 km to connect with Southeast Asian countries.
Zeliang further pointed out the shortage of power supply in the region and underlined the need for not only adequate power generation but efficient transmission and distribution, the release said.
Delegates from Bangladesh and Bhutan as well as from all the Northeastern States attended the Summit. The 4th edition of the Summit in 2017 is to be held in Nagaland, the release added.