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IMPHAL/AGARTALA: PM Modi breezed through poll-bound Manipur amid a shutdown and boycott call by rebel outfits on Tuesday, carrying with him a bouquet of 22 projects worth Rs 4,815 crore and declaring the insurgency-hit state would be the engine of the country’s growth.
PM Modi, who flew to BJP-governed Tripura next to inaugurate the newly built integrated terminal of Agartala airport, said that the northeast joined the development race post-2014 after being hampered by decades of neglect.
Beyond the rally ground largely packed by BJP workers and supporters, the PM’s focus on a resurgent Manipur contrasted with near-empty streets as the proscribed CorCom’s boycott call kept residents of the Imphal valley indoors. The group is an amalgam of various armed outfits.
PM Modi lauded the BJP-led N Biren Singh government for initiating “rapid development” of Manipur through campaigns and schemes like “Go to Villages” and “Go to Hills”. He said the current government had been able to integrate the hills and the valley, where opposing militant outfits hold sway, and create a path of hitherto unseen growth.
The projects PM Modi inaugurated include the Barak bridge along the Imphal-Silchar highway, the Thoubal multipurpose project, water supply schemes in Tamenglong and Senapati and Imphal’s renovated Govindajee temple. A cancer hospital is part of the new projects he announced.
In Agartala, where he was joined by civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Prime Minister Modi batted for CM Biplab Kumar Deb, saying he hadn’t quite got the credit he deserved.
“Our friends in the media are not always giving due coverage to the good things done by the government. Double-engine growth means united effort towards prosperity, of which Tripura is an example,” he said, alluding to the state lately making news more for alleged communal flare-ups and political vendetta than development.
The major part of Modi’s 24-minute speech at Agartala’s Swami Vivekananda Stadium was dedicated to outlining how CM Deb and his ministry had crossed various milestones, including initiating a crucial change in the eligibility criteria for the Prime Minister Awas Yojana.
“Biplab Deb came to me with his argument to consider semi-permanent structures as a kutcha house, and the central government reviewed his proposal and accepted it. Accordingly, the definitions of kutcha and pucca houses were changed. Around 1.8 lakh beneficiaries of Tripura got houses under PMAY in a year. The same benefits accrued to lakhs of people elsewhere in the country.”
Tripura, which is due for elections in 2023, suffered under the Left Front that governed the state for 25 years before BJP wrested the reins, Modi said.
“After the last election, when BJP came to government, I promised you the HIRA model – highway, internet way, railway and airway. The results are now showing.”





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