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CM urges PM to seal Indo-Bangla border
SPL CORRESPONDENT

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s official residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. – UB Photos
 NEW DELHI, April 12 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take immediate measures to complete the sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh border to stop influx once and for all.

Sonowal called on the Prime Minister here this afternoon to formally invite him to attend the inauguration of the Dhola-Sadiya bridge next month and the global investors’ summit to be held in November. The Chief Minister informed that the Prime Minister may attend both the programmes.

About Sonowal’s plea for sealing the Indo-Bangladesh border, the Prime Minister reportedly pointed out that sealing of the international border is one of the top priorities of the Central Government and that he would instruct the Ministry of Home Affairs to take up the matter on a war footing.

Sonowal told Modi about the visits of a number of MLAs from different parties and senior officials to bordering areas with a view to interacting with the people there to get first-hand account of the problems being faced by them.

The Chief Minister also apprised the Prime Minister of the allotment of 1,800 bighas of land for the Indian Agricultural Research Institute coming up in Dhemaji district. “We have already allotted 1,800 bighas (of land) for the prestigious institute of national importance. This institute will certainly boost the agrarian economy of Assam in a big way,” he later told newsmen.

Sonowal apprised the Prime Minister of the first-ever two-day global investors summit billed ‘Advantage Assam: Gateway to ASEAN’ in Guwahati from November 9, to be followed by the Pravasi Asomiya Divas on November 11, which, he said would help in “heralding a new era of development and employment generation in Assam and the whole of the Northeast.”

Sonowal also informed the Prime Minister about the steps initiated by the State Government to attract industrial investment for the State. “A number of official procedures have been simplified to attract investments that include the passing of the Ease of Doing Business Bill and revival of the NEIIPP in a new avatar leading to investments of around Rs 6,000 crore up to March 2017,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the State Government intends to make Assam a hub of manufacturing activity in the northeastern region and Guwahati a business hub for trade with Southeast Asia and ASEAN markets as part of the Central Government’s Act East Policy.

Requesting the Prime Minister to inaugurate the 9.15-km-long Dhola-Sadiya bridge over the Brahmaputra river, Sonowal said the bridge will help to bring about major transformation in the surface communication network in the region.

The Chief Minister praised the Prime Minister for according top priority to development of Assam and the entire Northeast by ensuring that Union ministers and senior officials of the Government of India pay regular visits to get first-hand assessment of the ground situation and take effective and remedial measures accordingly.

Later talking to newspersons at his official residence here, Sonowal appreciated the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister for speedier development in different sectors, particularly roads, railways, agriculture, health and education. He said the achievements made by the government in a short span of time have been possible due to the help and support of the people of Assam and the support extended all along by the Prime Minister.

Stating that achievements in various sectors would be highlighted during the one-year completion of the government in May, Sonowal reiterated his government’s commitment to make Assam free from corruption through its zero tolerance policy against graft.

“Our government will relentlessly continue to wage a war against corruption till the State is completely free from the menace. Following our fight against corruption, a number of corrupt officials have been caught and actions are being initiated against them. We seek people’s cooperation as well as the media to make Assam free from corruption,” he added.

Meanwhile, amid reports of a possible expansion, Sonowal accompanied by a number of MLAs had sought an appointment with the party national president Amit Shah here. But it did not materialise because Shah was out of town.

However, Sonowal later denied that expansion of the ministry was on the cards. He said it would be carried out in due course after discussions and taking the people into confidence.

Interestingly, AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal was scheduled to meet Sonowal later in the evening. The meeting assumes significance because Ajmal has already expressed his party’s opposition to the draft population policy unveiled by the State BJP government, which among other things restricts government jobs and other official facilities to those couples with more than two children.

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