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LS Speaker draws attention to problems of Northeast

Shillong, January 31 : Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar drew focus to the problems plaguing the North Eastern Region which continues to impede its development.

Stating that despite the existence of rich natural resources and enormous potential for growth, it is a stark reality that the North East is grappling with multifarious problems of underdevelopment, unemployment, backwardness and insurgency.

Adding that the per capita gross State domestic product of the region is less that the rest of the country she said that the region's share of road and rail networks as well as energy consumption is also below the national average.

While literacy rate is higher than the national average, this has not transformed into a high rate of employment due to lack of economic development and industrial activities in the region.

Meira Kumar, Speaker of the Lok Sabha said this while inaugurating the 12th Annual Conference of the North East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NERCPA) in a function held at the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Art and Culture Building, Rilbong in Shillong on Friday.

Also present at the function were the Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Vincent H Pala, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, K Rahman Khan, Meghalaya Chief Minister, DD Lapang besides other dignitaries.

This year's conclave saw the meeting of minds to deliberate upon "the impact of insurgency activities in the North East India on Socio-Economic Development and its solution thereof".

The NERCPA, which was established in the year 1996, is the only unique and broad based forum for parliamentarians and legislators of the North East States.

Over the years, it has evolved into a vibrant and effective forum for not only advancing the interest of the region, but also for developing the parliamentarian fraternity and raise concerted voice on the issues of common interest of the region.

The NERCPA has also inspired the MPs of the North East Region to come together on a common platform irrespective of party affiliation to form the North East Forum of MPs.

The Lok Sabha Speaker said the Central Government has been committing large amount of resources by way of special economic and developmental packages for the region.

However, as per the Report on the Demand for Grants for the Ministry of Development of the North East Region for the year 2008-09, as many as 233 projects are lagging behind the schedule due to the delays in the utilization of funds and limited working seasons.

Meira Kumar called for greater commitment to pursue such projects for the region within a stricter time-frame.

Affirming that it is the responsibility of the States in the region as well as the nation as a whole to address these developmental challenges, she reiterated the need for a peaceful atmosphere where security of life and property can be guaranteed to the people creating an environment that is conducive to investment.

Meira Kumar further stated that initiatives are needed to bring back those influenced by the culture of violence, into the mainstream of society.

As violence and democracy cannot co-exist, movements which are instrumental in depriving ordinary citizens of their fundamental right to life and liberty and undermining development cannot claim any place in a democratic society, she added.

The need of the hour, she felt, was for people to actively participate in the decision-making process to bring about durable peace and prosperity to the region.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya chief minister D D Lapang said that insurgency has its roots in socio-economic and political environment of the region.

It is reinforced by a strong desire to safe guard local identities and the perceived neglect of the North Eastern Region.

It is impossible to either start or abolish any such movement without winning the hearts and minds of the people, he added.

For a resolution to this imbroglio, the insurgent groups need to have a real desire to solve the problems and the Government has to create an atmosphere of confidence whereby there can be a serious meeting of minds, Lapang said. Shillong, January 31 : Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar drew focus to the problems plaguing the North Eastern Region which continues to impede its development.

Stating that despite the existence of rich natural resources and enormous potential for growth, it is a stark reality that the North East is grappling with multifarious problems of underdevelopment, unemployment, backwardness and insurgency.

Adding that the per capita gross State domestic product of the region is less that the rest of the country she said that the region's share of road and rail networks as well as energy consumption is also below the national average.

While literacy rate is higher than the national average, this has not transformed into a high rate of employment due to lack of economic development and industrial activities in the region.

Meira Kumar, Speaker of the Lok Sabha said this while inaugurating the 12th Annual Conference of the North East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NERCPA) in a function held at the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Art and Culture Building, Rilbong in Shillong on Friday.

Also present at the function were the Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Vincent H Pala, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, K Rahman Khan, Meghalaya Chief Minister, DD Lapang besides other dignitaries.

This year's conclave saw the meeting of minds to deliberate upon "the impact of insurgency activities in the North East India on Socio-Economic Development and its solution thereof".

The NERCPA, which was established in the year 1996, is the only unique and broad based forum for parliamentarians and legislators of the North East States.

Over the years, it has evolved into a vibrant and effective forum for not only advancing the interest of the region, but also for developing the parliamentarian fraternity and raise concerted voice on the issues of common interest of the region.

The NERCPA has also inspired the MPs of the North East Region to come together on a common platform irrespective of party affiliation to form the North East Forum of MPs.

The Lok Sabha Speaker said the Central Government has been committing large amount of resources by way of special economic and developmental packages for the region.

However, as per the Report on the Demand for Grants for the Ministry of Development of the North East Region for the year 2008-09, as many as 233 projects are lagging behind the schedule due to the delays in the utilization of funds and limited working seasons.

Meira Kumar called for greater commitment to pursue such projects for the region within a stricter time-frame.

Affirming that it is the responsibility of the States in the region as well as the nation as a whole to address these developmental challenges, she reiterated the need for a peaceful atmosphere where security of life and property can be guaranteed to the people creating an environment that is conducive to investment.

Meira Kumar further stated that initiatives are needed to bring back those influenced by the culture of violence, into the mainstream of society.

As violence and democracy cannot co-exist, movements which are instrumental in depriving ordinary citizens of their fundamental right to life and liberty and undermining development cannot claim any place in a democratic society, she added.

The need of the hour, she felt, was for people to actively participate in the decision-making process to bring about durable peace and prosperity to the region.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya chief minister D D Lapang said that insurgency has its roots in socio-economic and political environment of the region.

It is reinforced by a strong desire to safe guard local identities and the perceived neglect of the North Eastern Region.

It is impossible to either start or abolish any such movement without winning the hearts and minds of the people, he added.

For a resolution to this imbroglio, the insurgent groups need to have a real desire to solve the problems and the Government has to create an atmosphere of confidence whereby there can be a serious meeting of minds, Lapang said.