Militancy in Tripura Falls Steeply in 2007

Mobilization of foreign investments and launch of development projects marked the highlights of the year set to end in Marxist-ruled Tripura, with insurgency showing a declining trend.

"Terrorism in Tripura is now under control," Director General of Police K.T.D. Singh said.

He added that the success of the security forces in Tripura came in for praise at the recent annual conference of police chiefs in New Delhi. Compared to 152 civilians killed in insurgency related violence in 2000, the death toll this year stands at only 19.

The number of extremist-related incidents fell from 449 in 2000 to 102 this year. Similarly, kidnappings have plunged from 542 in 2000 to 58 this year.

With militancy showing signs of abating, countries like China, Japan, Germany and Thailand have evinced interest to invest in or provide financial assistance to Tripura.

"China will provide technology to Tripura to create bamboo-based industries and livelihood opportunities for farmers and tribal people," said Jitendra Chowdhury, the state forest minister.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) had earlier agreed to provide Rs.3.66 billion as soft loan. Germany would provide Rs.1.12 billion for ecological conservation projects and development of livelihood resources for tribals and other forest dwellers.

A high level Thailand delegation led by Commerce Minister Krirk-Krai Jirapaet visited Tripura and other northeastern state in June and expressed keen interest to invest in sectors like tourism, infrastructure, food processing and agro-based industries in the region.

In the energy sector too, Tripura has shown promise, with the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) discovering two new gas-yielding zones.

"ONGC is striking gas in one out of every two wells drilled in Tripura while the average ratio worldwide is one out of three," said A.K. Hazarika, the ONGC director (onshore).

This announcement has boosted the other public sector companies like Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) to undertake exploration works for gas and oil in Tripura.

Tripura is all set to become the first state in eastern India to use compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel for running vehicles.

The second largest rubber growing state in the country after Kerala, Tripura received a boost when India's second rubber-based industrial park was set up in the state.

The rubber board has identified 100,000 hectares of land as potential area for plantation in Tripura.

2007 also saw the 90-year-old tea industry in Tripura creating history of sorts by exporting the beverage for the first time.

"We recently exported 58,000 kg of tea named Jewel Tips to Iran and also got orders from Russia. This is the first time that Tripura's tea has been exported," said D.C. Das, manager of the Manu Valley Tea Estate in north Tripura.

On Aug 14, Tripura, with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), became the first among the northeastern states to have satellite-based educational facilities aimed at enhancing the knowledge base of the students.


More by :  Sujit Chakraborty

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