The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Swipe at ‘shining’ NDA

Guwahati, Jan. 24: Unceremoniously pricking the NDA government’s “India shining” bubble, Assam Governor Lt Gen. (retd) Ajai Singh has said the Centre’s claim was a myth as the Northeast “is not shining”.

“I cannot see India shining because the Northeast is not,” he said in front of a select gathering in the city last night. The meeting was a curtain raiser on two conferences on agriculture and organic food to be held here and in Shillong next month.

The governor said the entire country has to shine to make everybody “feel good”.

“But there has been no traceable development in Assam over the past eight months of my tenure. I have seen projects only in documents that have not been translated into action,” he added.

The remarks by the governor — appointed by the BJP-led NDA government last year — came amid a publicity blitz by Delhi highlighting what it claims to be an economic boom reflected in all spheres of society. With Lok Sabha polls almost ahead of schedule, the Centre will roll out another series of multimedia advertisements worth Rs 250 crore aimed at wooing voters.

The governor felt that the region has a lot of potential and would shine in the future.

Among others, last night’s meeting was attended by the director of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (northeastern region) K.M. Bujarbaruah and secretary, North Eastern Council, P.L. Thanga.

The governor said agriculture in Assam is the only means of survival. “There are no mandis in Assam which are the backbone of a commercially successful agricultural economy. The state is also besought with problems like small landholdings, which does not allow agriculture to become commercially viable,” he added.

He asked the organisers of the meeting — the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (Card) and the North Eastern Council — to initiate steps for popularising organic food.

The international conference on organic food — Nature 2004 — has been organised in Shillong as the region is ideally suited for production of organic food. The conference would focus region’s strengths in largescale output of organic products.

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