‘It’s heart-warming to see the lawmakers from regional parties speaking in Parliament on problems faced by the long neglected Northeast’, this was stated by former Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio. ‘This new trend is definitely encouraging. We appreciate that members from other parties in various parts of the country are also taking keen interest in the region,’ said Rio, who is the lone Nagaland MP.
Rio was referring in particular to the Lok Sabha debate on April 27 on demand for grants for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) in which several members from across the country participated. Those who spoke their heart out were Tatagatha Sathpathy of Biju Janata Dal (Odisha), Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena (Maharashtra), Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu of Telugu Desam Party (Andhra Pradesh), and Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress (West Bengal).
What they said was a far cry from the parochialism that MPs, especially from the regional parties, are often accused of. Sawant, for instance, suggested that the government should set up a Sports University in the Northeast and Kinjrapu called for immediate restoration of the northeast industrial and investment promotion policy which greatly helped the people of the region.
He had also suggested developing the tourism potential of the Northeast, ‘The region has scenic beauty, rivers and diverse flora and fauna. There are also 13 big monasteries in the region. All of that provides the leverage for boosting tourism.’ Neiphiu Rio further pointed out that even though much has been said, but we have to be very serious on the implementation of the government programmes and policies in the region.