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Arunachal CM meets Modi, seeks special development package

By Ians English

New Delhi, April 9: Arunachal Chief Minister Kalikho Pul on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an one-time development package for the northeastern state, especially for areas of the border with China.

In his first visit to the capital after taking over as chief minister, Pul also met union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Human Resources Minister Smriti Irani, Power Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Development of the Northeastern Region (DoNER) Jitendera Singh.

Arunachal Pradesh

"Chief Minister Kalikho Pul called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence today and appealed for a one-time special package to boost the economy and compensate for years of under-development in the state," said a statement from the chief minister's office in Itanagar.

It said Pul contended that the request for one-time grant must not be considered on economic costs of development involved, but on confidence building initiatives that must be taken with respect to Arunachal as a strategic border state.

Modi agreed to provide the central government's full support and resources for development of Arunachal Pradesh, saying the country's strength lay in these border areas.

In his meeting with Rajnath Singh, Pul said that there was an alarming trend of migration of border population to urban centres, which was resulting in unclaimed and unoccupied areas, making the border prone to incursions.

He said it was a major cause of concern and that steps needed to be taken to ensure that these border communities continue to inhabit their lands.

Pul also raised concern over absence of basic facilities for troop patrolling up to last border point that continue to hinder effective patrolling of the border areas.

"He (Pul) therefore appealed for facilities in border areas that included foot suspension bridges, culverts and log bridges, hutments, water supply, health assistance, basic education, power, telecommunication and media reach, CC steps for use by both villagers and defence personnel," said the statement.

Pul said though the economic costs of provisioning for these facilities might appear high, but considering the distance and hard terrain where raw materials have to be carried on head load, it needed to be understood that the strategic benefits far outweigh these costs.

In his meeting with Irani, Pul cited the poor education scenario of the state and how several government schools and colleges lacked sufficient infrastructure and all-weather buildings.

Irani assured to give backup and full support to the state government's endeavour.

In his meeting with Goyal, Pul mentioned his government's thrust to develop small hydro power projects as a dependable source of power for administrative centres across the state.

He said that the state has so far identified 89 projects in border areas with an aim to provide power to unelectrified administrative circles down to circle headquarters in off-grid system.

These projects with total installed capacity of 37.28 MW and a total cost of Rs.715.74 crore would be harnessed from nearby rivers, rivulets, and streams in an eco-friendly manner, he said.

Goyal assured Pul all support, noting that Prime Minister Modi has accorded special consideration for Arunachal and all the northeastern states.

In his meeting with Jitendra Singh, Pul expressed satisfaction at the cooperation and support offered to his government by the DoNER ministry in implementation of various developmental works in the state.

Singh brought to the notice of Pul that there were certain pending projects in Arunachal Pradesh which required to be taken up on an urgent basis.

"In this regard, he particularly mentioned the construction of airport at Itanagar which, he said, had got unduly delayed because of the issues related to identification of site and land acquisition," a ministry statement said.

Pul became the chief minister in February after a controversial political turmoil in which Congress' Nabam Tuki was overthrown.


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