Saturday, January 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak backing militancy in N-E: PM

NEW DELHI, Jan 21 (PTI) — Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today charged Pakistan with backing insurgents and separatists in the North-Eastern states as “part of its larger gameplan” to destabilise India and said this has impeded economic development of the region.

“It is now well established that Pakistan is backing some of these groups as part of its larger gameplan to try and destabilise India,” Mr Vajpayee said inaugurating a two-day conference of Governors and Chief Ministers of seven North Eastern states here. It is also being attended among others by Union Ministers L.K. Advani and George Fernandes and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman K.C. Pant.

“One of many factors that have impeded economic development in some states of North-East is violence unleashed by insurgents and externally-aided separatists and criminals,” he told the conference where a strong demand was made by some Chief Ministers for special fund for modernisation of state police to deal with the situation.

Mr Vajpayee said the Centre had been assisting insurgency-affected states with the paramilitary forces and by reimbursing security-related expenditure.

“But this cannot compensate for the terrible price extracted by insurgents and extortionists at the expense of the region’s development or the fear psychosis created by them among the people,” the Prime Minister said.

Stating that there was a growing perception that widespread unemployment and lack of job prospects were the main factors behind insurgency and criminal activities that had retarded the economic progress of this region, he said, “Together, we need to pursue development policies and programmes that generate employment opportunities, though not necessarily in government sectors.”

Reaffirming the government’s commitment to rapid economic development in North-Eastern states, Mr Vajpayee said “Our effort is to ensure that the states are soon at par, if not ahead, of other states.”

Stressing on the need for addressing issues that had sapped those states of resources and diverted the attention of the administration, he said one such issue was that large sums of money did not find their way to the project for which they were intended.

The other issue, he said was non-involvement of the people in development efforts and lack of community participation.

Mr Vajpayee regretted that the North-Eastern Council (NEC) which was set up with great hopes, did not live up to the expectations.

“We are now determined to ensure that the council is not only revitalised but also meets at least twice a year to accelerate development projects,” he said.

Mr Vajpayee said the North-Eastern states were lagging behind because most of them became part of the planning process much after the other states.

Bearing this in mind, he said the outlay for these states under the Ninth Plan had been increased to Rs 25,283.52 crore which was nearly Rs 10,000 crore more than that in the Eighth Plan outlay.

The Centre had also created a non-lapseable pool of funds for the North-East and Sikkim meant for funding development projects and to fill the resource gap in creation of new infrastructure in the region.

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