Viksit Assam: PM Modi played a pivotal role in bringing Assamese culture to the global platform

Viksit Assam: PM Modi played a pivotal role in bringing Assamese culture to the global platform

After decades of strife and turmoil, Assam emerges as a beacon of progress, aligning itself with the developmental strides of other Indian states. 

PM Modi played a pivotal role in bringing Assamese culture to the global platform PM Modi played a pivotal role in bringing Assamese culture to the global platform

After decades of strife and turmoil, Assam emerges as a beacon of progress, aligning itself with the developmental strides of other Indian states. 

Assam has transformed its trajectory from a history of underdevelopment and violence, becoming a driving force for progress in the region. 

Formerly misguided youths are now integral members of mainstream society, actively contributing to Assam's journey towards becoming a development hub.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, the government's focused initiatives have not only shifted the state's fate but have also unlocked its vast potential for development. PM Modi's visits to the state have brought a cascade of gifts, propelling Assam into an era of comprehensive development. From inaugurating seven cancer hospitals in a day to unleashing over 14,000 crore worth of development projects in one sweep, each visit has marked a significant leap forward for the state since 2014.

Peace and Prosperity Prevails

After enduring the worst of insurgent activities, Assam has embarked on a new era of peace since 2014. Several peace agreements have been inked by the Modi government, putting an emphatic end to insurgency and terrorism in the state. Whether it's the transformative Bodo Peace Accord of 2020 or the signed peace deal with the pro-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), each agreement marks a historic turning point, promising enduring peace for the state.

Among the peace initiatives, the Bodo Accord signed on January 27, 2020, put a full stop to a five-decade-old Bodo issue in Assam and resulted in the surrender of 1615 cadres with a huge cache of arms and ammunition. After the accord, the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) was constituted. The ripple effect of the accord is evident across all strata of BTR society. Notably, a pivotal commitment of the accord—the establishment of Kokrajhar Medical College—has materialized, with its inaugural MBBS batch commencing in 2023, marking a significant milestone. In addition, with its initiatives, the government has already rehabilitated 2774 ex-cadres from the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in 2021. Steps were taken to rehabilitate former NDFB insurgents.

Also Read: PM Modi launches development projects in Jammu worth Rs 32,000 crore, says ‘Article 370 was main hurdle’

To resolve the long-running dispute in the Karbi regions of Assam, the Karbi Anglong Agreement was signed on September 04, 2021, in which more than 1000 armed cadres renounced violence and returned to mainstream society. Another agreement with delegates from 8 Adivasi Groups on September 15, 2022, marked resolving the long-standing crisis affecting Adivasis and tea garden workers in Assam. Consequently, 1182 members of Adivasi groups have transitioned into the mainstream by relinquishing their weapons.

Two inter-state agreements were signed to ensure greater peace and conflict-free relations with the neighbouring states of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. The Assam-Meghalaya Boundary Agreement (March 2022) settles 65% of disputes, while the Assam-Arunachal Border Agreement (April 2023) concluded a 700+ km border resolution.

Greater Connectivity

Assam, nestled in the northeastern corner of India, grappled with connectivity challenges that impacted its socio-economic development. The Brahmaputra River, a lifeline for the state, poses both a resource and a barrier for mobility in the absence of physical bridges. Since 2014, the government has actively enhanced Assam's connectivity, exemplified by the Bogibeel and Dhola Sadia Bridges.

These engineering marvels not only link regions but also stimulate economic ecosystems. The Bogibeel Bridge has significantly reduced train travel distance between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 80% and has fostered economic growth while attracting industrial investments. It has particularly spurred economic activities in flood-prone districts like Lakhimpur and Dhemaji, prompting the Assam government to inaugurate projects worth Rs 1220.21 crore in Dhemaji district in 2022. This bridge has become a lifeline for lakhs of people in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Initiated by PM Modi in 2021, the Mahabahu Brahmaputra project has transformed connectivity and development along the riverbanks. Ro-Pax vessel services between Neamati-Majuli Island, North Guwahati-South Guwahati, and Dhubri-Hatsingimari, along with the establishment of the IWT Terminal at Jogighopa and tourist jetties on the Brahmaputra, not only boosted the economy but also attracted tourists from India and abroad. Majuli, once a victim of flood-induced erosion, overcame connectivity woes with an 8 km bridge linking Kalibari Ghat to Jorhat (under construction phase). The operationalization of this bridge will not only connect thousands of families in Majuli and cut travel time to Lakhimpur and Jorhat to a mere 30 minutes.

In addition to water links, Assam is seamlessly integrated into the world-class Vande Bharat Rail Network. The inaugural run of Assam's first Vande Bharat Express, connecting Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri in 2023, promises enhanced travel convenience, substantial advantages for students, and a boost to job opportunities in tourism and business. In addition, there has been a four-fold increase in the railway budget to Northeast India since 2014.

Development Push

Over the past nine years, Assam has witnessed a surge in development initiatives, marking a shift from Look East to Act East policy endeavours. Despite being labelled the Cancer Capital of India and grappling with inadequate medical infrastructure, a beacon of hope emerged in 2022 with the inauguration of 7 cancer hospitals in a single day by PM Modi. Additionally, Assam takes pride in being home to the first AIIMS in Northeast India.

PM's April 2023 visit to Assam witnessed the announcement of over 14,000 crores in development initiatives, with the inauguration and foundation laying of projects totalling more than Rs. 10,900 crores. Highlights include the foundation stone for a Brahmaputra River bridge connecting Palashbari and Sualkuchi, commissioning a 500 TPD Methanol plant in Namrup, Dibrugarh, and inaugurating five railway projects, including section doubling and electrification across the region. Indeed, every time the PM visits Assam, the state is showered with development push.

Favoured Destination for Tourists

Once overlooked, Assam's abundant natural beauty has now seen a surge of tourists. Notably, the state has witnessed an impressive 575 per cent growth in tourist arrivals during 2022–2023, surpassing one crore visitors. It marks a significant milestone for Assam's thriving tourism industry. The announcement of Maa Kamakhya Corridor has garnered wider attention, and in the coming days, it will boost the state's tourism sector. Assam's Jorhat and Kokrajhar are among 15 destinations in the Northeast selected for development under Swadesh Darshan 2.0.

Promoting and Preserving Unique Culture

With Prime Minister Modi making over 50 visits and Union Ministers conducting more than 400 visits to the region, the Northeast has become an integral part of the PM's push to maintain the region's tradition and culture.

The Modi government, committed to honouring India's unsung heroes, paid tribute to Bir Lachit Borphukan on his 400th birth anniversary in 2022. During PM Modi's April 2023 visit to Assam, the foundation stone was laid for the beautification of Rang Ghar in Sivasagar. The project aims to enhance tourist amenities, featuring a fountain show, a boat house for adventurous rides, an artisan village, and more, showcasing the rich history of the Ahom dynasty.

By acknowledging and elevating the status of tribal heroes in the region, the government has effectively demonstrated that Northeast India is no longer relegated to neglect within the country.

PM Modi has also brought Assam's culture to global prominence. From participating in the Guinness record-breaking Bihu celebration in Assam in 2023 to donning the Gamocha at the UN HQ lawn on International Yoga Day, the Prime Minister actively promotes the cultural heritage of Assam on the global stage.

In the 'Mann Ki Baat episodes,' PM Modi has woven a tapestry of inspiring tales from Assam. From applauding Tisso's dedicated work in preserving the Karbi language in the Karbi Anglong district to the uplifting narrative of rickshaw puller Ahmad Ali, who built nine schools for underprivileged students, these stories resonate with and inspire people nationwide.

The Modi government has replaced the neglectful approach of earlier governments with a more nurturing one. A transformation in mindset has become evident, eliminating the once common questions like 'Where is Assam?' or 'Is Assam part of India?' The broader acceptance witnessed today was a notable miss a decade ago. All this resulted in a tourism boost. In a region that has been neglected for far too long, the people of the Northeast have now found a new sense of hope and optimism.

Edited By: Atiqul Habib
Published On: Feb 24, 2024