PM peddles peace, development, stability to woo voters
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 18: Scripting a sort of a history by becoming the first Prime Minister to campaign for an election in Manipur while in office, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh peddled development, peace and stability while addressing an election meeting at Tamenglong public ground in Tamenglong Assembly Constituency during his one day visit to the State.

Arriving in an Indian Air Force Plane from New Delhi, Dr Singh flew to Tamenglong in a helicopter to the meeting venue where a large crowd of over 6000 had gathered to hear his speech.

The PM directly flew back to Gauhati from Tamenglong on the helicopter.

The PM touched down at Tulihal airport amid the 12 hour general strike called by the RPF to boycott his visit.

The general strike was in force from 6 am till 6 pm today paralysing normal activities in the State, particularly in Imphal, with all its commercial centres remaining closed for the day.

Packaging the Congress in his word, Dr Singh described it as a forward looking party interested in the development of all regions of the country and all sections of its people.

�It is the only party which can ensure that this lovely State catches up with the rest of the country in development and its people benefit from the rapid growth elsewhere in the country,� said the Prime Minister.

Reaching out to the people on behalf of the Congress party and its chief Sonia Gandhi, Dr Singh said that during the last five years in office, the Congress led SPF Government has done commendably in addressing the problems of the State.

�Most importantly it has provided a stable Government under one Chief Minister for five years.

This is a most important contribution because instability has been the biggest problem of Manipur, And stability is essential for development,� observed the Prime Minister and added that there is the need to focus on development to eliminate poverty.

Dr Singh stressed that development should be in all regions and should benefit all groups of people and added that this is what the Congress Government had been systematically trying to do over the last five years.

Noting that Manipur is beset with many problems, Dr Singh said that the biggest problem, particularly in Tamenglong district is the poor transport connectivity.

�Roads are either bad or non-existent making it difficult for people and goods to move about.

This makes development of the region difficult,� said the Prime Minister.

The highest priority during the last five years has been building roads, he said and added that NH-53, which is the most important road for Tamenglong district, has been brought back into use.

The bridges on Barak river and Makru river have been restored, he added.

Touching on other works taken up for road communication, the Prime Minister said that the Old Cachar road will once again link Bishnupur to Nungba.

The Jiri-Tupul rail line will also benefit Tamenglong, said Dr Singh adding that the rail line will touch Nungba, Khonsang and Noneh which will bring better connectivity, more industry and more jobs to the people.

Tamenglong will become a major transit point for Manipur.

Acknowledging that the other major problem in the hill districts is the poor state of education and health facilities, the Prime Minister said that the Government has built new schools and colleges and improved health centres.

Tamenglong will soon get a large district hospital, he said adding that with better education facilities, the youth of Tamenglong will be able to get jobs here and elsewhere.

The Prime Minister also mentioned the upgradation of Manipur University to a Central University and the new facilities to be given to the Manipur Institute of Technology.

RIMS has also been improved at great cost, he said and added that hundreds of crores of rupees are being invested in Manipur so that the youth can avail the best educational and health facilities.

Noting that power is another crucial factor for development, the Prime Minister said that work will soon begin at the Loktak Downstream and Tipaimukh projects.

The Centre is also helping the State under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojana so that by 2009 each villages can be electrified.

Stating that unemployment is a major problem in Tamenglong district, the Prime Minister said that to address this problem, the Rural Employment Guarantee Programme was started in the district.

Thousands of people have been given work under this programme, claimed the Prime Minister and added that the programme will be taken to the other districts in the coming years.

�This is the biggest gift of Smt Sonia Gandhi and the UPA Government to you,� asserted Dr Singh.

The Congress is a party which can give peace, stability and a caring Government, said Dr Singh and assured that �given another five years, the Congress will take you to a future where there is no poverty, or illiteracy and where you are free from disease, a future where you can lead safe, prosperous lives, a future where the hills of Tamenglong will ring with joy, laughter and the sounds of your lovely songs and dances�.

In an obvious attempt to win the hearts of the people, the Prime Minister said that the UPA Government in Delhi and the Congress party in the State are totally committed to the development of Manipur, particularly its backward regions, such as Tamenglong.

�Pandit Nehru and Smt Indira Gandhi always had a great of affection for the Naga people.

Smt Sonia Gandhi cares a lot for the development of all our tribal peoples.

With this heritage, the Congress party is best suited for the development of Tamenglong,� claimed the Prime Minister.

Talking about the sporting prowess of the State, the Prime Minister said that the talent that exists here is among the best in the country and added, �We are developing the State into a major sports centre for the country�.

Significantly the PMdid not say anything on Armed Forces Special Powers Act during his one day visit.

The INC candidate in Tamenglong AC is Zangamlung Pamei.

Main points the PM stressed
* STABILITY: The last five years of SPF Government led by the Congress.

Stability is the key to success and one major problems of Manipur have been lack of political stability.

* Transport: The highest priority in the last five years has been given to building roads.

Repair work of NH-53, bridges over the Barak and Makru rivers.

The Old Cachar Road will once again link Nungba with Bishnupur.

The Jiri-Tupul rail line with better connectivity of Tamenglong district.

It will become the transit point of Manipur.

* Health and Education: A large district hospital to come up at Tamenglong district headquarters.

Upgradation of MU to Central University.

Better infrastructure at Manipur Institute of Technology.

* Employment: REGP in Tamenglong.