Shillong Oct 5: Union Home Minister, Amit Shah made a maiden visit to Mizoram on Saturday after taking charge as minister, but in his speech during a function in Aizawl, he did not speak about the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which has been strongly opposed in Mizoram and other states in the Northeast.
Shah instead focused his speech on various development initiatives of the NDA government including handloom and handicraft sector, saying handicrafts can play a pioneering role in the development of the North Eastern Region.
During the day, Shah inaugurated the North East Handloom and Handicraft Exhibition in Aizawl in the presence of Mizoram Chief Minister, Zoramthanga and Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Jitendra Singh, Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, other state ministers, NEC Secretary, Ram Muivah and other officials.
Addressing the gathering, Shah expressed happiness for having visited one of the most beautiful states in India and called Mizoram an important representative of Indian Democracy.
“Once affected by insurgency and separatism, today Mizoram stands as a symbol of peace and fraternity and is giving this message to the whole World”, he said.
It was the first Handloom and Handicraft Exhibition being organized in the North East.
According to Shah, handloom holds the capability to generate huge employment opportunities in the North East and play an important role in the growth and development of the people.
Stating that the North East is rich forest produce and other raw materials for handloom and handicraft sector, he said that combining this with the traditional culture of making handicrafts and presence of skilled people, handicrafts can play a pioneering role in the development of the North East.
The Home Minister said that during the first term of the Narendra Modi-led government, bamboo was taken out of the list of trees that were prohibited for felling due to environmental concerns.
“With this decision, the availability of bamboo has increased to facilitate the handicrafts sector by the government. The region that would benefit the most is the North East,” he added.
Talking about steps taken under the leadership of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to make the North East prosper, Shah said that Modi has worked day and night to initiate whole of the North East on a path of peace and prosperity.
He said that in Mizoram, in the last 5 years, a number of developmental projects have been initiated which include 60 MW Tuirial hydro electric power project and expressed confidence that by 2021, Aizawl would be connected by broad gauge railways.
The Kaladan multi modal waterway and establishing of new border hats would bring huge opportunities of trade and commerce to Mizoram. Other initiatives in Aizawl include Greater Aizawl water project, state referral hospital, state sports academy, horticulture colleges and a cricket stadium, he informed.
Drawing a comparison with the previous government, Shah said that Mizoram received over Rs. 19,970 crores during 13th Finance Commission (FC), whereas, during the 14th FC, over Rs. 42, 970 crores have been spent by the Modi Government for Mizoram’s development.
He also gave details of progress on various flagship schemes of Goverment of India like LPG connections under PM Ujjwala Yojana, houses under PM Awas Yojana, bank accounts opened under PM Jan Dhan yojana, loans given to Mizo youth under PM Mudra yojana, building of national highways, household electrification and construction of toilets in Mizoram.
“Today, Mizoram is a totally open defecation free state,” he noted with pride.
Stressing on the importance the government gives to the development of the North East, Shah said that the Modi government is totally committed to ensure development of Mizoram and to find solutions to all kinds of challenges that the state is facing.
He concluded his address by assuring the Mizoram CM that the government of India would extend full cooperation and assistance in taking the state on the path of swift progress and development.
Union Minister for DoNER said that the Central government led by Modi did not follow the dictum of vote bank politics.
In its first tenure, the Modi government gave long list of projects to Mizoram including India’s first citrus fruit park and four border-haats, he said.
Dr. Singh said that during the time of earlier governments, Prime Ministers often did not visit Mizoram but the present Prime Minister gave exclusive time to the state.
He said that Home Minister Amit Shah also visited Mizoram within less than five months after becoming home minister.
“Now Mizoram is on the fast track of development, and peace and development will increase in the state in time to come,” the DoNER minister said.
Mizoram chief minister, Zoramthanga said that despite lack of resources in the state, Mizoram is using available resources in fullest extent.
“After 10 years, Mizoram will be one of the states in India with highest per capita,” he said.