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Growth, development and connectivity of the Assam, North East are priorities of the government: PM
Ro-pax services will drastically reduce distances: PM


Namaskar Assam!

I greet Majuli, the land of Srimanta Sankardev's workplace and the satras! My colleagues in the Union Cabinet, Shri Nitin Gadkari ji, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad ji and Shri Mansukh Mandaviya ji, Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal ji, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma ji, Assam Finance Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma ji, and my dear brothers and sisters from Assam. It seems that the fervor of the Ali-Aye-Ligang festival is prevailing for the second day. Yesterday was a day of celebration of farming for the Mising community and today is a great festival for the development of the entire Assam and the North East, including Majuli.

Brothers and sisters,

Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhupen Hazarika had once written: महाबाहु ब्रह्मपुत्र महामिलनर तीर्थ(अ) कत(अ) जुग धरि आहिछे प्रकाखि हमन्वयर अर्थ(अ)! That is, the expansion of the Brahmaputra is the pilgrimage of fraternity, brotherhood and union. For years, this sacred river has been synonymous with camaraderie and connectivity. But it is also true that the work related to connectivity over the Brahmaputra did not happen as it should have been done earlier. As a result, connectivity within Assam and in other areas of the North East has always remained a major challenge. With the blessings of the Mahabahu Brahmaputra, the work is going on in full swing in this direction. Over the years, the double engine governments of the Centre and Assam have tried to reduce both geographical and cultural distances of the entire region. We have built bridges of convenience, opportunities and culture in line with the eternal spirit of the Brahmaputra. The physical and cultural integrity of the entire North East, including Assam, has been empowered over the years.

Friends,

This day is going to expand the comprehensive vision for the entire North East, including Assam. Many bridges, be it Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Bridge, Bogibeel Bridge or Saraighat Bridge, are making the life of Assam easier today. These are also proving to be great convenience for our brave warriors, while strengthening the security of the country. The campaign to connect different parts of Assam and North East has been given a fillip today. Work on two more major bridges is commencing from today. When I went to Majuli Island a few years ago, I sensed the problems there closely. I am happy that Sarbananda Sonowal ji's government has tried to mitigate these difficulties with complete dedication. Assam’s first heliport has come up in Majuli.

Brothers and sisters,

Now, the people of Majuli are going to get fast and safe road options. Your years-old demand is going to be fulfilled with the foundation laying ceremony of the bridge. The eight-km bridge connecting Kalibari Ghat to Jorhat will become the lifeline of thousands of families of Majuli. This bridge is going to be a bridge of convenience and hope for you. Similarly, when the 19-km long bridge from Dhubri to Fulbari in Meghalaya is ready, it will strengthen the connectivity of the Barak Valley. This bridge will also greatly reduce the distance from Assam to Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. Imagine, the distance between Meghalaya and Assam, which is about 250 kilometres by road, will be reduced to only 19-20 kilometres in future. This bridge will also be important for international traffic with other countries.

Brothers and sisters,

The Mahabahu Brahmaputra program has been launched today to enrich the gift of many rivers to Assam, including the Brahmaputra and Barak. The program will empower water connectivity and port-led development throughout the region with the waters of the Brahmaputra. At the beginning of this campaign, three Ro-Pax services have been inaugurated between Nemati-Majuli, North and South Guwahati and Dhubri- Hatsingimari today. With this, Assam has become the leading state in the country to connect with the Ro-Pax service at such a large scale. In addition, development of tourist jetties at four places over the Brahmaputra and the Inland Water Transport Terminal at Jogighopa has also been taken up. These projects, which will provide better connectivity to Assam, including Majuli, and the North East, will further accelerate the pace of development in the region. A vote given by you in 2016 has resulted in so much. The power of your vote is now going to take Assam to a newer height.

Brothers and sisters,

Even during the period of slavery, Assam was one of the most prosperous and more revenue generating states of the country. Even the tea and petroleum products reached Chittagong and Kolkata ports through the Brahmaputra-Padma-Meghna rivers and the railway lines. This network of connectivity was a major reason for Assam's prosperity. But after independence, where it was necessary to modernize this infrastructure, it was left on its own. No focus was given on the waterway and as a result it was almost finished. This negligence over development was also a major reason behind the chaos and unrest in the region. The course correction started during the time of Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. Now, those projects are being further expanded and being given more momentum. Now, the development of Assam is also a priority and round the clock efforts are also being made for it.

Brothers and sisters,

In the last five years, several steps have been taken to re-establish the multi-modal connectivity of Assam. The effort is to make Assam and the North East the centre of our cultural and trade relations with other East Asian countries. Therefore, inland waterways are being developed as a major force. Recently, an agreement has also been signed to enhance water connectivity with Bangladesh. Work on Indo-Bangladesh protocol route is underway on the Hooghly River to connect Brahmaputra and Barak rivers. This will also provide an alternative connectivity to Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura besides Assam to Haldia, Kolkata, Guwahati and Jogighopa. That is, it will reduce the dependence on the narrow region that connects the North East with the rest of India.

Brothers and sisters,

Jogighopa's IWT terminal will further strengthen this alternative route and connect Assam to Kolkata, to Haldia Port by waterway. The terminal will facilitate cargo of Bhutan and Bangladesh, cargo of Jogighopa multi-modal logistics park and commuting to different locations on the Brahmaputra River.

Friends,

If the comfort of the common man is a priority and the goal of development is irrevocable, new avenues are created. The Ro-Pax service between Majuli and Nemati is one such plan. You will no longer need to travel about 425 kilometres through the road. You only have to cover a journey of 12 kilometres through Ro-Pax and you can take your bicycle, scooter, bike, or car to the ship as well. The two ships that are being run on this route will be able to carry about 1600 passengers and dozens of vehicles at a time. Similar facility will now be available to the people of Guwahati also. Now, the distance between north and south Guwahati will be reduced from 40 kilometres to just 3 kilometres. Similarly, the distance between Dhubri and Hatsingimari will be reduced from about 225 kilometres to 30 kilometres.

Friends,

Our government is not just developing waterways, but E-portals have been launched today to ensure that those who use them get the accurate information. The Car-D portal will help to collect all cargo and cruise-related traffic data of the National Waterway in real time. Similarly, the water portal will also provide information on the infrastructure of the waterway besides navigation. The GIS-based Bharat Map portal helps people who want to visit here or come for business purposes. Multi-modal connectivity is being developed for Atmanirbhar Bharat and Assam is going to be its best example.

Brothers and sisters,

Internet connectivity is equally essential along with the waterway-railway-highway connectivity of Assam and the North East. Work is proceeding simultaneously on these issues. Now, with an investment of hundreds of crores of rupees, the North East’s first data centre will come up in Guwahati and it will be the sixth in the country. The centre will serve as a data centre hub for all the eight states of the North East. This data centre will give more impetus to e-governance, IT service based industry and start-ups across the north east, including Assam. It will also empower the BPO ecosystem which is being developed for the youth of the North East for the last few years. In a way, the centre will also strengthen the vision of Digital India in the North East.

Brothers and sisters,

Bharat Ratna Dr Bhupen Hazarika wrote: कर्मइ आमार धर्म, आमि नतुन जुगर नतुन मानब, आनिम नतुन स्वर्ग, अबहेलित जनतार बाबे धरात पातिम स्वर्ग i.e., Our work is our religion, we are new people of the new age who were disregarded. We will create a new heaven on the earth for them. The government is working with this spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas all over the country, including Assam and North East today. Assamese culture, spirituality, rich tradition of tribes and biodiversity are our heritages that have prospered around the Brahmaputra. Srimanta Sankardev ji also came to the Majuli Island to empower this heritage. Since then, Majuli has been identified as the centre of spirituality, the soul of the culture of Assam. The way all of you have pursued the Satriya culture is commendable. The enthusiasm over Mukha Shilpa (Mask Art) and Raas Festival in the country and the world is wonderful. Only you have this strength and these attractions. It has to be preserved and taken forward.

Brothers and sisters,

I would like to congratulate Sarbananda Sonowal ji and his entire team for the commendable work to enhance this cultural, spiritual and natural potential of Majuli and Assam. Steps like the campaign to free Satras and other important places from illegal occupation, the establishment of a cultural university, status to Majuli as the "Biodiversity Heritage Site", the Tezpur-Majuli-Sivasagar heritage circuit, the festivals of Namami Brahmaputra and Namami Barak are strengthening the identity of Assam.

Friends,

The connectivity projects that have been either inaugurated or whose foundation stone was laid today are going to open new doors for tourism in Assam. Assam can become a major destination of cruise tourism in the country. The tourism industry of Assam will get a new dimension with the development of tourist jetties at Nemati, Biswanath Ghat, Guwahati and Jogighopa. When a high-spending tourist from the country and abroad will take a trip on the cruise, it will also increase the earning means of the youth of Assam. Tourism is a sector in which the least literate and those with least investment earn as well as a skilled professional. This is what development is all about which gives opportunity to the poorest of the poor and the common citizen also to move forward. We have to maintain and speed up this course of development. We have to work together to make Assam and the North East a strong pillar of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Once again, I congratulate all of you for the new projects of development.

Many thanks!

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PM’s message on International Day of Persons with Disabilities
December 03, 2021
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On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, 

"On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I would like to appreciate the stellar achievements and contributions of persons with disabilities to India’s progress. Their life journeys, their courage and determination is very motivating.

The Government of India is actively working to further strengthen infrastructure that empowers persons with disabilities. The emphasis remains on equality, accessibility and opportunity".