NAC pitches for growth of Northeast region

Internet connectivity, direct flights in wishlist

Seeking to speed up development of the Northeast, the National Advisory Council has favoured internet connectivity to the region through Bangladesh, daily direct flights from each of the seven state capitals to Delhi and a separate plan to implement healthcare initiatives.

The NAC, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, also took a dim view of the telemedicine project, jointly implemented by Isro­ and the Northeast Council, and pitched for time-bound roll-out of the planned 72 telemedicine nodes and deployment of trained staff.

The NAC Working Group on Development of the Northeastern Region, with Pramod Tandon as its convener, also recommended that the Centre may consider 100 per cent funding support for setting up of medical colleges by the states.

Contending that telecom connectivity in the North Eastern Region (NER) should be looked at as an “essential service”, the advisory panel has suggested a separate Comprehensive Telecom Plan for the region which may adopt the “farthest first” principle to bring remote parts on the telecom map.

It also took note of the demand from the northeast states to provide internet connectivity from the Cox’s Bazaar international gateway in Bangladesh instead of internet gateways at Mumbai and Chennai.

“It is recommended that the feasibility of national alternative be explored in addition to the request of the States of the NER for Cox’s Bazaar connectivity, subject to technical feasibility and consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs, as this would bring adequate bandwidth to the region,” the NAC working group said.

Favouring better air connectivity with rest of the country, it also stressed that every state capital of the region be connected to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata with a direct daily flight during the 12th Plan.

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