Kalikho Pul, the state's minister of health and tribal affairs, painted a grim picture of the state's territory bordering China and claimed that the Centre's population-based funding was to blame for the lack of development in the thinly -populated state.
"What happened in Kargil will happen in Arunachal," he said, referring to the intrusion by Pakistani forces into the Ladakh region in 1999. "People living in border areas are migrating to urban places as they have no facilities. These places are getting empty, due to which China is coming inside," Pul said here at a conference of tribal ministers from the various states and Union Territories. China disputes Indian sovereignty over large parts of the state.
Finding fault with the Union government's funding based on a state's population, he said that the states are told by the Centre to control their birth rate, but funding is more for states with bigger population. "It cannot go on like this. What we are supposed to do... You speak here about seven, eight-lane roads, metro trains and what not, but our people do not even have tracks for walking. There is no drinking water, nothing," he told an audience comprising, among others, the Union minister for Tribal Affairs, Jual Oram.
The Centre, he said, should give special preference to the northeastern states. Oram assured the participants of the Centre's full support in the development of tribal regions and tribals, adding that they should send proposals to the Centre and it would lend them its full support.
Oram also gave the gathering an overview of the various developmental projects undertaken by the Union government. The ministry will launch a body catering to tribals who have moved to urban centres in search of livelihood, a ministry official said.