Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Friday that impediments to Manipur's progress have been removed and it is now primed for fast-paced development, as he asked its people to not allow the forces that kept it down for 70 years to rear their head again.
Addressing the people of the poll-bound state on its statehood day, Modi said Manipur deserves peace and also deserves to be ridden of frequent bandhs and blockades, and added that it has been achieved under the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
"Manipur stands at a crucial juncture after 50 years (of statehood). Manipur has started journey towards fast development. Obstacles that existed have been removed. We don't have to look back from here. When our country completes 100 years of Independence, it will also be 75 years of Manipur's statehood.
"This is also 'amrit kaal' (goden era) for Manipur's development. Forces that halted its progress should not be allowed to allowed to rear their hears. We should remember this... With the double engine of development, Manipur has to be developed at a fast pace," he said.
BJP leaders use the term "double engine" to refer to the party being in power at the Centre as well as in a state. While the Congress dominated politics in Manipur for much of the time since its foundation, the BJP rose to power there for the first time in 2017 and is now looking to retain it. Modi said he has made constant efforts to get a first-hand account of expectations and aspirations of the state's people which has enabled him to get a better understanding of their feelings and expectation and to find ways to tackle their problems.
The prime minister said the government is committed to making Manipur the sports powerhouse of the country, and it has a key role in the vision of making the North-East the centre of its Act East policy. The state has got the country's first national sports university, he noted, lauding the sporting abilities of its youngsters.
This has prompted his government to work to make the state India's sporting powerhouses, he said, adding that its youngsters are also doing well in the field of startups and entrepreneurship. The prime minister said under the 'double-engine' of development, Manipur is getting long awaited facilities like railways. People of the state had to wait for 50 years for a passenger train, he said.
Connectivity projects worth thousands of crores rupees are underway in the state, including Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line. Similarly, with the Imphal airport getting international status, connectivity of North-Eastern states with Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru has improved. Manipur will also benefit from the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and upcoming Rs 9000 crore natural gas pipeline in the region, he said.
With inputs from PTI.