Sarbananda Sonowal in Silchar. Picture by Niloptal Bhattacharjee
Silchar, Jan. 21: Union minister for sports and youth affairs Sarbananda Sonowal today assured the Centre would do its best to ensure smooth connectivity across Assam.
Addressing a youth conclave, Skilled Youth, Empowered Assam, at Town Club ground here today, Sonowal said the Narendra Modi government was committed to bring overall development in the state. He proposed construction of three new bridges over the Barak river to streamline connectivity between Barak valley and other parts of the state. Recalling the Prime Minister's rallies in Guwahati and Kokrajhar on Tuesday, Sonowal said, "Modi ji only talked about three things - development, development and development."
Sonowal today said he would submit a proposal to Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu to develop double-track lines in the state.
Encouraging youths to take part in sport and skill development activities, Sonowal assured allocation of funds for development of sports infrastructure in Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts in the next budget. He said he would urge Union minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy to set up a skill development centre each at Silchar, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Haflong.
He said the Silchar-Saurashtra East-West Corridor project would be completed soon. On the poor condition of NH 44 from Malidahar (Meghalaya) to Churaibari (Assam), he said funds have already been sanctioned for its renovation and hoped that work would start soon.
Sonowal today laid the foundation stone of a two-lane expressway with paved shoulder from Ramnagar in Cachar district to Badarpur in Karimganj along NH 53.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today dared Sonowal to come out with a white paper on what the earlier NDA government and the present government headed by Modi did for Assam instead of spreading canards in the state against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress-led UPA government.
Gogoi said in a statement, "Sonowal cannot hoodwink the people by making false statements that the Congress-led UPA government virtually did nothing for Assam in their two terms and the present Congress dispensation in Assam in the past 15 years. People can witness the development on different fronts like roads, health and education. Assam has surpassed even big states like Gujarat in some key parameters."
The chief minister said though the state government had handed over stretches of National Highway 37, 37A, 52 and 53 to the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited according to the policy decision of the central ministry, the corporation had neither taken up construction nor undertaken maintenance.
Gogoi accused the Centre of ignoring the demand for Rs 1,350 crore for establishment of skill development centres in all 219 development blocks of the state.
The chief minister said while the Prime Minister talks big of make in India, skilled India, start-ups, it has deprived Assam and the rest of the Northeast of the special category status and suspended the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, adversely affecting the development process.