With exactly a week to go for the assembly polls in Mizoram, Congress president Sonia Gandhi tackled the two key issues in the state: Jobs through mega hydro projects for the predominantly young electorate and checking illegal influx from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
With the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) under its belt, the sitting Congress government hopes to have an easy ride to power. But even so, at the rally on Monday, Gandhi decided to address the youths, who comprise over 50% of Mizoram’s 686,305 voters.
At a rally in Lunglei’s Saikuti Hall, 164 km from Aizawl, Gandhi listed the Kaladan Multi-Modal, Tuirial Hydro and Tuivai Hydro projects in terms of priority. “Vote for the Congress a second time for the completion of projects that would help generate employment for the Mizo youths,” she said.
But that is easier said than done. While the Kaladan project has run into land acquisition problems with locals, the 60MW Tuirial has generated controversy for a compensation scam. The 210MW Tuivai hydro project has attracted flak from environmentalists.
Gandhi was also upbeat about the oil and natural gas exploration in the state. With two-thirds of Mizoram being explored for oil, there has been significant concern about the displacement of people, which the opposition parties are exploiting to the hilt. Though any agency is yet to strike oil, Gandhi said once production begins, the Centre would work out a 50:50 profit-sharing agreement with the state. Before signing off, Sonia promised a 10-bed cancer hospital in Aizawl. Mizoram has more cancer patients than any other state in India.