Assam’s territory will be protected: Rajnath tells Sonowal

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HT Correspondent

New Delhi, Oct 25: Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday assured Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal that the territorial integrity of the state would not be compromised with, amid reports of a possible peace settlement with Naga rebel group NSCN(I-M). Sonowal called on Singh at his office in New Delhi and held discussions on several important issues, an official release said.

“The issue of ‘Nagalim’ (Greater Nagaland) also came up for discussion in the meeting and the Union home minister assured Sonowal that territorial integrity of Assam would not be compromised at any cost and the central government is committed to maintain peace and harmony in the Northeast,” the release said.

Notably, peace talks between Delhi and NSCN(I-M) is in progress and it is believed that the final settlement on the issue will be worked out within two-three months. The integration of Naga-dominated areas is one of the key demands of the NSCN(I-M), which includes some parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur.

The chief minister also apprised of Singh about the updating of National Register of Citizens (NRC) and reiterated that genuine Indian citizens do not need to worry about being excluded from NRC and the state government is committed to prepare a flawless draft NRC.

It was also decided at the meeting that the international Indo-Bangla border at Karimganj-Cachar and Mankachar-South Salmara sectors of the state would be sealed at an early date and Singh assured of taking all steps for expediting the whole process for solving the illegal immigrants’ issue once and for all.

The chief minister was accompanied by water resources minister Keshab Mahanta, chief secretary V.K. Pipersenia along with other top officials of the state government during the meeting.

Sonowal meets jaitley

In a meeting with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Sonowal sought his intervention for announcing a new industrial policy for Assam and other North Eastern states before the proposed the Global Investors’ Summit to be held in Guwahati on February 3 and 4, next.

Sonowal said that introduction of an industrial policy, announced exclusively for Assam and North East to incentivise investments in Assam would augur well to create an investor friendly climate in the region before the investors’ summit. He also requested the Union minister for a more liberal GST Regime which can aid in strengthening business confidence in the state.

Sonowal also sought Jaitley’s help in expeditiously releasing Rs. 1138 crore due for the flood management programmes and said that release of the fund would help in early implementation of 141 of all ongoing and proposed flood and erosion management projects in the state. Sonowal also requested Jaitley to release the balance amount of oil royalty due for Assam.

Rs 256.55 crore for flood and erosion protection

Ministry of water resources has accorded investment clearance against implementation of five flood and erosion management projects in the state with an expenditure of Rs 256.55 crore. Union water resources and road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari informed this to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Gadkari said the MoWR has accorded investment clearance for implementation of three FMP projects in Dibrugarh district and one each in Morigaon and Kokrajhar district. The approved schemes include Integrated Flood and Erosion Risk Management Project at Rohmoria, projects for anti-erosion measures at Bar Dirak and Na-chumoni as well as Sassoni Tingkhong in Dibrugarh district, construction of dyke along river bank from Dhankhunda to Gobardhan hills in Morigaon district and erosion protection work of river Aie.

Sonowal urged the Union minister for early release of funds for the ongoing flood management programmes. He also requested him to announce a special package to carry out new FMP schemes.

Sonowal also drew attention of the Union minister on the poor condition of national highways and urged him to take expeditious measures for early completion of four lane works in the state. The chief minister also informed him about the Global Investors Summit to be held in February, 2018 and requested him to take steps to complete repairing the national highways for seamless transportation before the summit takes off.

Gadkari informed that both NHAI and NHIDCL will work in tandem to accomplish the work. He also directed NHIDCL technical director VK Rajawat to visit Assam and station in Guwahati to supervise the construction works.

The duo also discussed about the construction of Express Highway along both banks of river Brahmaputra. Gadkari asked the state government to prepare an Integrated Approach Plan involving all line departments for carrying out the project. The Union minister expressed the view that once the express highway becomes a reality, it would work as advance transport network and protection measure against flood and erosion in Assam. He also informed that funding for the IAP would be made by the Union ministry of road transport and highways.

Regarding dredging, Gadkari informed that two more dredgers would be pressed into service apart from the four dredgers which are already stationed in the Brahmaputra and dredging will start from Sadia next month.

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