NEW DELHI, Oct 14: Poin-ting out that the process of economic planning for ba-lanced growth was not an easy task for a vast and va-ried country of India, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh stated that the process of planning should be aimed at providing need-based development for each reg-ion in a manner that would strengthen national objecti-ves.
Attending meeting of the 56th National Development Council held here at Vigyan Bhavan today which was presided over by Prime Mi-nister Dr Manmohan Singh, Ibobi mentioned a few special requirements of Mani- pur which have to be addressed during the 12th Five Year Plan period.
Ibobi stated that Mani-pur had benefited substan- tially during the 11th Five Year Plan period , in terms of providing better infrastructure and health care, better education facilities, rural roads, rural housing and ge-neration of employment through many national flagship programmes.
He emphasized the need for strengthening human re-sources and physical infra- structure during the 12th Plan period to enable North Eastern States to respond effectively and catch up with the rest of the country.
He further stated that the large agricultural potential specially that of horticulture in the North Eastern Region remained unexploited and suggested that with proper planning and efficient deli-very system, hill areas of the North Eastern Region could flourish with orchards and plantation crops.
In the context of the North Eastern Region, the Approach Paper must take into account conservation of eco-systems and effective management of large water bodies like Loktak Lake and 19 identified water bodies of Manipur, which sustained not only the Lok-tak Hydro Electric Project and a large population of fi-shermen, but also provided sanctuary to rare species of wildlife.
The Chief Minister sta-ted that in respect of infra- structure development programmes, seamless con- nectivity through road development assumed parti- cular importance. There was a need for more extensive road network and improvement of existing roads spe- cially in the North East.
Ibobi Singh reiterated that top priority be accord-ed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Boarder Roads Organization to the comple- tion of National Highway- 53 (renamed NH 37) by 2013 and National Highway- 39 (NH 2) by 2014 as these two Highways were the lifelines of Manipur beside being the backbone of the proposed Trans-Asian Highway.
Ibobi Singh drew the attention of the Centre for ti- mely completion of the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line. This Railway Line alone would provide the State with a reliable and dependable means of transporting essential commodities like PDS rice, wheat, sugar and petroleum products including LPG.
Once completed, the State expected to get rid of the blackmail, the State suffered frequently from, by way of blockades on National Highways.
The State had acquired the land on priority and deployed a large part of State Police Force for providing dedicated security to the Railway staff to enable completion of the project by 2016.
He urged the Centre to list the Railway Project in the 12th Plan as the highest priority project and also to ensure full funding.
Manipur had to contend with the available 115 MW of power as against the peak demand of 180 MW, resulting in lowest per capita con- sumption of energy which is 106 Kwh, as against 360 Kwh for all India.
In rural areas of Manipur, the situation was much worst.
Inadequacy of power was despite lack of any worthwhile industry in Manipur.
The proposed World Bank funded NE Region Transmission, Sub-Transmission and Distribution Project must be funded and accorded high priority to enable the State to draw its share of power from the regional grid.
The Manipur Chief Minister stressed the need for giving attention to technical and vocational education.
The capacities in the existing Engineering and Medical colleges, Polytechnics, IITs etc needed to be substantially expanded and upgraded to meet the growing and diversified demands.
Ibobi Singh stated that Manipur was a poor state and the population was mostly dependent on agriculture, with hardly any trade or industry.
State expenditure had however grown from year to year. Due to Manipur’s narrow resource base, it had become extremely difficult for the State Government to meet its normal and developmental requirements. The annual Plan allocations along with non-plan funds were inadequate to meet State Government’s genuine needs. He urged the Centre to come forward to supplement the State’s large resource gap.
Ibobi further proposed to give a quantum jump to investment in the hill areas through the elected Autonomous District Councils during the 12th Plan.
He also drew the attention of Centre for effective border management in the international border to prevent from cross-border movement of terrorist groups.
The 56th meeting of the National development Council was attended by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibbal, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar, State Chief Ministers, senior Central and State officers.
Manipur Chief Secretary DS Poonia and Finance Commissioner Rakesh Ranjan accompanied the Manipur Chief Minister at the meeting.
Referring to the North East, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh , in his inaugural address, stated that the Eleventh Plan, for the first time, presented an infrastructure plan for the North East. It had made a good start and this thrust must be continued in the Twelfth Five Year Plan.
Source: The Sangai Express