On the occasion of the 67th Republic Day, I extend my warm greetings, felicitations and best wishes for a prosperous New Year to all who have assembled here and to the people of Mizoram. On this auspicious day, let us remember the founding fathers who brought forth freedom to this Nation and gave us the Constitution which guarantees dignity and liberty. As proud citizens of this great country, it is incumbent upon all of us to nurture, safeguard and strengthen the democratic system and values enshrined in our Constitution.
On this august occasion, I would like to highlight some of the achievements of the State Government during the past one year.
1.The maintenance of Law & Order and the safety and security of the people remains a matter of paramount importance. In this regard, I express my appreciation to all the Civil Societies and Voluntary Organisations for their unstinting support to law enforcement agencies in the efforts to maintain our status as one of the most peaceful states in the country. Under modernisation of Police Forces, the Mizoram Police has been strengthened by providing them with modern equipment and weaponry and the Aizawl City Surveilance Project has been successfully launched and the second phase covering all important junctions of Aizawl City is underway. CCTNS Network linking all Police Stations is also at the final stage of completion.
2. My Government is committed to continue the flagship programme of New Land Use Policy (NLUP) and has decided to extend the programme for another five years starting from 1st April,2015. NLUP has made good progress in uplifting the economy of the State and is providing sustainable means of livelihood to the people.The Mizoram Economic Survey, 2014 - 2015 has reflected that the economy of the State grew at 8.45% which is higher than the all India average. The survey has also highlighted reduction of area under jhum cultivation by over 21% which can be attributed to the positive impact of NLUP.
3. The Government has given due attention to the maintenance and improvement of roads. During 2015 - 2016, double laning of parts of NH 54 has been completed and 79 roads with a total length of 1885.00 kms are under construction. Construction of 99.83 kms of Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) road is also in progress. Improvement and upgradation of several existing roads in different parts of the State is also under progress. Upgradation of Lengpui Airport is nearing completion. We will also continue to improve the existing roads by proper maintenance.
4. The Government accords priority to making Mizoram self sufficient in energy. Mizoram has a vast potential for generating hydro electricity and we are exploring all possible options to increase our power generation. The Government of Mizoram has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) for execution of Tuivai Hydro Electric Project (210 MW) and construction work will be started shortly once necessary clearance is obtained. Construction of Tuirial Hydro Electric Project (60 MW) undertaken by NEEPCO is in full swing and the project is expected to be commissioned in 2016 itself. Thawva Small Hydel Project (5 MW), Kawlbem Small Hydel Project (3.5 MW) and Tuiriza and Tuiching Small Hydel Projects (100 KW each) are also expected to be completed within 2017. We are also taking up construction of major transmission lines to improve our transmission system across the State. The solar energy options are also being explored as yet another mode of clean energy.
5. The Government is committed to provide safe and sufficient drinking water to all the people. The PHE Department has targetted 42 rural habitations to be covered with safe drinking water under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) during 2015 - 2016. With funding from Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), 10% Lumpsum Grant and North Eastern Council (NEC), a total of 21 Water Supply Schemes are being taken up and some of these projects are nearing completion.
National flagship programme namely Swachh Bharat Mission, is our priority. Under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) a number of Individual Household Latrines (IHHLs) Community Sanitary Latrines, School Toilets and Anganwadi Toilets have been constructed. We are working on Solid Waste Management and provision of public toilets, particularly in the capital and other cities.
6. For provision of housing and other basic amenities to families Below Poverty Line and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the society, my Government has implemented three housing projects in Aizawl City under JNNURM which will together provide housing to 1,096 urban poor families when completed. Various Urban Infrastructure Development Projects and Slum Area Development Projects are also being implemented under 10% Lumpsum Grant in Aizawl City and various other towns.
7. The Government has been giving priority for upliftment of the rural poor by providing wage employment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Various schemes under Indira Awaaz Yojana (IAY), National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) and Border Area Development Programme (BADP) are being implemented in the rural areas.
8. The Government is committed to enhance agricultural crop production and productivity to make agriculture a sustainable livelihood support. Various interventions like area expansion under Rice Cultivation, promotion of improved technologies like System of Rice Intensification (SRI), Line Planting and improved cultivation of rice on hill slope are being promoted. Various agricultural machineries and equipments are given to farmers at subsidized rates. Over 200 Rain Water Harvesting Tanks/Tube Wells were constructed to provide irrigation facilities at farmers’ fields.
9. Providing affordable health care and improving health care facilities are given top priority by the Government. Efforts are being made for the establishment of Mizoram Institute of Medical Education & Research (MIMER) by upgrading the existing infrastructure of the State Referral Hospital, Falkawn. Steps have been initiated for establishment of a 100 bedded Cancer Hospital at the existing Mizoram State Cancer Institute, Zemabawk. Construction of a 200 bedded Hostel for Mizoram College of Nursing at Falkawn is also in progress. Establishment of a 50 bedded AYUSH Hospital at Thenzawl is in progress and nearing completion. Initiative is also being taken for establishment of 10 bedded AYUSH Hospitals in every district. Various interventional programmes to reduce and decrease the incidences of Tuberculosis, Malaria, Blindness and Leprosy through various programmes are being vigorously undertaken. Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakran (RBSK) is implemented across the state and Mobile Health Teams have conducted health screening among children enrolled in Anganwadi Centres, Govt. Schools and Govt. Aided Schools across the State. Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) is also being implemented in five districts namely, Champhai, Mamit, Lawngtlai, Lunglei and Saiha. We are also committed to deal with alcoholism and drug addiction in particular.
10. The Government continues to give utmost priority to the development of human resources. Early Childhood care and Education (ECCE) have been formally started in 66 Primary Schools. The Department of School Education has tied up with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai to introduce Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) in 200 High Schools to improve the professional and academic prospects of High School students. Total Literacy Drive is being conducted across the State with special focus on Lawngtlai, Mamit and Lunglei Districts with a view to achieve the number one position in literacy percentage in the country. Various programmes under Rastrya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Sharva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have been carried out successfully and effectively.
Under Rastriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt. of India has approved proposal for Infrastructural Grants to 21 Colleges, upgradation of Govt. Zirtiri Residential College and Govt. Hrangbana College to Model Degree Colleges and establishment of a new Professional College viz. Mizoram Engineering College at Pukpui, Lunglei.
11. The Government has managed equitable distribution of food grains to the general public thereby, ensuring food security within the State. Computerisation of the Targeted Public Distribution System Operations in the State has been undertaken and all Ration Cards have been digitised.
To overcome the problem of LPG scarcity in the State, the Government is making utmost effort to enhance availability by tackling black marketing, adulteration and hoarding of LPG in the State. The Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs is currently coordinating with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. for setting up of a 5 Mega Tonne capacity Bottling Plant for LPG and Fuel Depot for petroleum and oil products in the State. Sincere efforts ae being taken to implement the food security Act, 2013 in Mizoram.
12. Connectivity in all dimensions is essential for economic growth and development. It is the main platform of our ‘Act East’ Policy. My Government has also given priority to expansion of trade with neighbouring countries. The Land Custom Station (LCS) at Zokhawthar was formally inaugurated by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Commerce & Industry on 25.3.2015. It will enhance border trade with Myanmar. Establishment of Land Custom Station (LCS) at Zorinpui in Lawngtlai District and construction of 100 km Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) between Lawngtlai and Myanmar border is also underway. Once completed, it will open up a cheaper commercial route for international trade with South Asean Countries and change my State from an “Outpost” to a “Gateway of India.” Establishment of Integrated Check Point (ICP) at Kawrpuichhuah in the Indo-Bangladesh border is being pursued with utmost vigor and will facilitate the much awaited border trade with Bangladesh.
13. Steps are being taken to improve and strengthen industrial infrastructure in the State. More than 25 units have been allotted industrial plots in Zuangtui Industrial Area and 10 units in the Export Promotion Industrial Park at Lengte. Mizoram Ispat Industry and Chinzah Enterprises at Lengte have started commercial production and 3 food processing units are expected to commence commercial production very soon. Impetus is also being given to Bamboo Sector Development, Electronics & IT Sector, Handloom & Handicrafts and Skill Development Training. Establishment of Skill Development Centre at Lunglei and Mizoram Handloom Export Facilitation Hub at Thenzawl are underway. Establishment of Weavers’ Service Centre at Luangmual is also being taken up vigorously. Oil and Gas exploration in the State is being undertaken in several blocks by Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL). In sum, the National themes of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of “Start Up India” and “Stand Up India” have to be our focus. I am confident that Mizo youth have it in them to be “job creators” and not “job seekers”.
14. My Government is implementing various strategically-planned schemes for achieving the vision of having a well-stocked high quality forest in Mizoram. Under National Afforestation Programme (NAP), plantation have been undertaken in over 62,625 Ha. through Village Forest Development Committee since the inception year. Under Green Mizoram Programme more than 36 lakh seedlings have been planted/distributed so far. Under National Agro-Forestry & Bamboo Mission (NABM) an area of about 60,000 Ha. has been taken up for Bamboo cultivation in both forest and non-forest area since its inception. We are also requesting the Central Government to compensate and motivate further the forest rich States like Mizoram.
15. Development of Sports infrastructure is another priority of my Government. A number of works for numerous projects are ongoing and nearing completion in different parts of the State. Sportspersons from Mizoram have won 50 Gold, 55 Silver and 76 Bronze medals at the National Level during 2014 - 2015. Mizoram Under - 14 football team also won the Championship Trophy in the recently held Subroto Cup International Tournament, 2015.
16. My Government has taken initiatives for providing welfare programmes and services to the differently abled persons, social security for the aged, infirm, poor and destitute widows. The Welfare and development of women and children and programmes for the socio-economic rehabilitation for economically and socially handicapped persons have also been undertaken. We have also taken steps to combat drugs abuse, alcoholism, trafficking of women and children and juvenile delinquency.
17. The Government has taken initiatives for e-Development of Mizoram as the engine for transformation of Government and empowerment of society. This will provide transparency and ease of doing business for the public and Government. Digital India Week was observed during 1st - 7th July, 2015 and several e-Services and Software were launched during the week.
18.The Government has been making efforts to place Mizoram as a prominent tourist destination in the Tourism Map of India and in the international market at large. Adventure Tourism, Rural Tourism and Eco-Tourism have been identified as potential areas for attracting tourists to Mizoram and thrust has been given to develop this sector.
19. My Government is fully committed to root out corruption in all its forms at all levels and this has been one of the main agenda to achieve good governance for the people of Mizoram. The Lokayukta Bill, 2014 has been passed in the Mizoram Legislative Assembly and the Government is actively taking action to constitute the said Lokayukta in the State of Mizoram.
20. In the end I would like to draw attention to the vulnerability of Himalayan States like Mizoram to natural disasters. What has happened in Manipur is a recent example and my Government is conscious of the impending danger and drills for disaster management are being done. I would like us all to be conscious of this and ensure that disaster is mitigated by constructing buildings within laid-down norms and be aware of response necessary. This will also be part of our ‘Smart City’ Mission for Aizawl.
In conclusion, I take this opportunity to once again express my gratitude to all the NGOs, the Churches, Media and the general public for having reposed faith and confidence in my government and also for extending their utmost co-operation in all its endeavours for the development of Mizoram. This indeed is the strength of our State.
I would like to compliment the parade contingents, the students and all the people who have gathered here today. With your whole-hearted co-operation and the unwavering support of the Central Government, I am confident that my Government will be able to fully achieve the vision and goals for which it stands committed.
Let us, on this day, resolve to preserve and strengthen the unity and integrity of this great country and to work for the missions that will make Mizoram a place where all can live with dignity, peace, prosperity and happiness.
May I end the speech with my favourite quote from Mahatma Gandhi -
“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people's houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.”