From our Correspondent
ITANAGAR, July 17: Chief Minister Nabam Tuki today assured cooperation to the Indian Air Force particularly in availing the requisite land for up-gradation of Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) besides its other initiatives in Arunachal Pradesh. The assurance came when Air Vice-Marshal K S Gill called on him here today over a quite luncheon.
Initially the IAF is taking over five ALGs in the State for renovation and extension as a part of its exercise to facilitate swift movement of forces to this strategically located Northeastern frontier of the country that shares international boundaries with China, Bhutan and Myanmar. The five ALGs are located at Pasighat (East Siang), Ziro (Lower Subansiri), Mechuka (West Siang), Tuting (Upper Siang) and Walong (Anjaw). IAF also proposes utilization of these ALGs for civilian use.
Vice Marshal Gill requested the Chief Minister make available the land required for extension of these existing landing grounds as soon as possible so that works are started and completed within a short period. Additional lands are required around the existing grounds to facilitate landing and taking-off of heavy aircrafts as well as construction of other infrastructure including the terminal.
Gill informed the Chief Minister that the IAF has already received funds to the tune of Rs 1000 crore for the project from the Central Government in the first phase. On the issue of land compensation to the affected people, he said the IAF is ready to pay for it as per the rate fixed by the local administrations.
The Vice Marshal also requested the State Government for provision of water supply and electricity at least up to the vicinity of the proposed ALGs from where, he said, the IAF will do the extension and distribution on its own.
The other important issue raised by the IAF official was relocation of the residents of Rigio village who are in close proximity of the IAF’s firing range near Dollungmukh in Lower Subansiri district on the inter-State boundary with Assam.
While appreciating the eagerness of the IAF to make operational the ALGs in the State, which would simultaneously allow air travel for civilians too, Tuki assured cooperation by the State government. Taking prompt action, he directed Chief Secretary Yeshi Tsering, who was also present in the discussion, to call a meeting of all the Deputy Commissioners under whose districts the proposed ALGs fall on July 20 next in the State capital for a review and finalization of all matters pertaining to land acquisition, rehabilitation and compensation.
Tuki, however, requested the IAF official to keep the interests of the local people on top while implementing the projects. He also requested the IAF to lend assistance as and when required and asked by the State Government specially for airlifting people at times of distress, natural calamity or other rescue operations including emergency shifting of serious patients. Air Vice Marshal Gil assured the CM that IAF would be more than willing to be of any assistance to the State Government in all times of need.
Also present in the discussion were PWD, Planning and Finance Minister Chowna Mein, PWD Parliamentary Secretary and Principal Advisor to CM T N Thongdok, Parliamentary Secretary for UD Padi Richo and DGP Kanwaljit Deol besides Chief Secretary Yeshi Tsering.