Friday, February 26, 2021
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Why Northeast needs Central attention

By Surbhi Moudgil

A nation intending but failing miserably at addressing a long standing regional problem, shows nothing but an abject failure of its strategic planning. Northeast India is the region representing this disaster of neglected tactical arrangement.

On Saturday, Assam Rifles troopers seized five AK-47s, three AK-56s and 12 magazines loaded with AK series rifle cartridges.

“Acting on a tip-off, the Assam Rifles’ jawans while carrying out the raid between Keitum and Khawlailung villages in Serchhip district seized the arms and ammunition from two Mizo men early Friday. Both were arrested,” specified local police.

Mizoram shares a 510 km long border with Myanmar and 318 km frontier with Bangladesh, this porous border has become a corridor for arms and drugs smuggling. Since the independence of Myanmar in 1948, India has been facing the problem of insurgency yet no concrete arrangements have been put through by any government in this country.

Efforts have been put by signing recent Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (I-M) accord by BJP led government though that focuses only on the internal peace in the Naga state.

The vast borders of Mizoram and Manipur are exposed for illegal transportation of arms and drugs. Recently, strict action was taken, sighting similar distress by District Magistrate Robert Kshetrimayum on December 16 to restrict cross-border movement between 5 pm to 5 am within 3 km radius of Indo-Myanmar border in Chandel district.  Invoking restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, the District Magistrate cited likelihood of illegal export of commodities from Chandel district to Myanmar through the border including illegal infiltration from Myanmar which, if allowed to take place, is likely to cause disturbance to peace.

Taming porous border issues in the north-east frontier of India majorly relies on embarking a border security strategy without distressing the local population for their livelihood. The easy exchange in this region is leading to easier execution of arms’ trade helping the militants.

Assam Rifles is constantly on operation to seal the area from illegal trade. However, until the vicious circle of locals falling prey to militancy stops, no solution would do the job. The need of the hour is to nurture the young population with a purpose in Northeast and making them feel an integral part of this nation.

The present government does claim to find solutions by providing certain provisions; Rail Budget assigned an outlay of Rs 5116 crore for the region; the Union Budget earmarked an additional sum of Rs 1000 crore over the expense provided in the budget for rail connectivity. The aim is to bridge the gap that has arisen due to underdevelopment and a sense of isolation that the region has faced for decades due to lack of proper connectivity.

The Budget also declared setting up of a sports university in Manipur. Among other initiatives, government allocated Rs 100 crore for developing organic farming. A new 24×7 channel ‘Arun Prabha’ was also announced focused on the Northeast. The centre also provisioned for an annual event in the North Eastern states to promote unique sports tradition in the Himalayan region.

These initiatives must see light of the day, else the disenchanted youth of the Northeast region who feel deprived for the lack of education and job opportunities, would be easily lured in to negative things. The government must ensure a proper development plan to end the cancer of militancy and smuggling which has gripped the Northeast region for long now.

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