PM announces Rs 8,000 cr package for "our land of rising sun"

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Itanagar, Jan 31 (UNI) In a veiled message that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the sensitive border state is "our land of rising sun", and announced a massive Rs 8000 crore package for it to implement various infrastructure development projects.

Barely a fortnight after the Prime Minister's visit to Beijing, Dr Singh addressed a public meeting on the first day of his maiden visit to this border state, parts of which China claims as its territory.

Dr Singh, who became the first premier to visit the frontier state in the past 12 years said, ''Arunachal Pradesh will rise from the east as a new star and become one of the best regions of our country.'' He inaugurated the Rs 110 crore Daimukh Hydel Project on the outskirts of the city and laid the foundation stone of a major road project connecting this sensitive state, which China consistently refuses to acknowledge as part of India.

Asserting that his government accorded the highest priority to the development of the state, Dr Singh exuded confidence that the North Eastern states would emerge as one of the best regions of the country.

Underlining that a strategy had been evolved by the Centre for an all-round development of the state, Mr Singh said the thrust areas would be establishing rail, road and air connectivity, development of infrastructure, education and healthcare facilities.

He said being an MP from Assam which is a northeastern state, he had always tried to promote the development of the region. '' I sincerely hope like the Sun, Arunachal Pradesh will rise from the East as a new star and become one of the best regions of our country, '' he averred.

The Prime Minister also announced that Arunachal Pradesh would get a new greenfield airport in Itanagar besides airports at Pasighat, Along, Daporijo, Ziro and Tezu.

Mr Singh noted that a direct helicopter service between Guwahati and Tawang would also begin soon.

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