Resolve contentious refugee issue: Khandu to Centre

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Itanagar, Feb 1: Apprehending serious threats to the indigenous population of Arunachal Pradesh in the near future following the presence of large number of Chakma and Hajong refugees, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for constituting a high level committee to find a lasting solution to the vexed issue.

Submitting a memorandum to Dr Singh at Indira Gandhi Park here yesterday, the chief minister pointed out that during the last four and half decades the issue had been the matter of simmering discontent among the indigenous tribals of the state. The chief minister added that ''If the present trend is allowed to continue, the ethnic population will soon be reduced to a minority.''

The chief minister lamented that over the years focus had shifted from 'cultural identity' of the indigenous tribal community of the state to the 'human rights' of Chakma and Hajong refugees. The memorandum, a copy of which was made available to the press also demanded for immediate solution to boundary dispute between Arunachal and Assam.

Non-settlement of boundary dispute is hurting the cause of socio-economic development of border villages in both side of the boundary, the chief minister pointed out in his address.

The other demands of the memorandum submitted by the state government include: relaxation of norms for implementation of Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in the state; relaxation of the condition of providing state matching shares against centrally sponsored schemes; one time financial assistance for construction of porter tracks, mule tracks and foot suspension bridges in border areas and establishment of Arunachal Scouts.

The memorandum also demanded establishment of state power grid; establishment of a medical and law college; reopening of border trade with neighbouring South East Asian countries; modernisation of state police; construction of road from Parsuram Kund to Arrwa; cadastral survey and digitised topo-sheet data in respect of the state and upgradation of media infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh.


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