On Saturday, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressed confidence that various projects along the Brahmaputra River are in the works, and that the development of waterways will increase commercial opportunities in the northeast region.
Assam’s progress after BJP-led NDA government came to power
The central minister for ports, shipping, and waterways further said that Assam’s progress has accelerated after the BJP-led NDA government took office at the federal level in 2014 and the saffron-led coalition took power in the state in 2016.
“I aim to increase the quantum of import and export from the region. We are working on boosting connectivity via the Brahmaputra, Barak, and other major rivers of the northeast so that business prospects of the region can also improve,” said Sonowal on his first visit to Assam since being inducted into the national government, Sonowal addressed a press conference at the BJP state headquarters here.
Direct access to seaports
Sonowal highlighted that the region had direct access to seaports previous to the country’s partition, but that business suffered as a result of the country’s landlocked status after independence.
“But we shall once again have access to Chittagong port in Bangladesh. We are working with Myanmar on the Sittwe port. Both Barak and Brahmaputra rivers will be connected once again to these ports and it will give business activities a much-needed push.” He added.
“There are many projects for the Brahmaputra in the pipeline. We will announce it later”, Sonowal stated, without going into specifics. In 1988, the Brahmaputra’s Sadiya-Dhubri stretch in Assam was designated as National Waterway No. 2.
Advancement of Northeast in the fields of Ayurveda and traditional medicines
Sonowal, who launched the BJP’s ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra in the state during the day, also highlighted that the northeast can make strides in the disciplines of Ayurveda and traditional medicine, and said that the AYUSH ministry, which he now leads, will look into the region’s potential in these subjects.
Sonowal criticizes the Congress
The former Assam chief minister went on to say that the Narendra Modi government has always prioritized northeast development. Criticizing the Congress regimes at the Centre, he claimed that the party had a step motherly attitude toward the northeast, as a result of which development in the region had taken a back seat.