A vision for Aruchal
Where will Aruchal Pradesh be in the year 2030? To chart the medium and long term development course for the frontier state, the bam Tuki government has decided to prepare a vision document. It will focus on primarily six broad areas — ebling infrastructure, economic potential, resource mobilization, border development, social sectors and social harmony. Three committees will prepare the draft Aruchal Vision 2030 document within six months after consultations, field visits and seeking public opinion at various levels. To gather inputs from individuals, experts, civil societies and other stakeholders, a dedicated website will also be hosted. Winning a mandate for Congress rule in Aruchal when the rendra Modi wave was rocking the country in 2014, Chief Minister Tuki now needs to go the whole distance for all–round development if he is to cement his power base. After all, Aruchal had its first BJP government thanks to Gegong Apang’s coup in 2003 when the BJP was ruling at the Centre.
It will however be in the country’s best interest if the present dispensations in Delhi and Itagar rise above partisan politics to forge a development agenda, as Aruchal is of immense strategic value with the Chinese dragon continuing to flex its muscles across the border. The Modi government has already got its ‘Act East’ policy rolling, in contrast to the ‘Look East’ policy of the previous government which never made much headway. To counter Beijing’s strategic containment of India through its 21st century maritime Silk Road economic belt, the Modi government is seeking deeper economic and strategic ties with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Vietm and other ASEAN countries. Whether this ‘Act East’ policy has any component to act outwards through the Northeast remains to be seen. During Prime Minister rendra Modi’s recent visit to Assam and Meghalaya, he referred to this region as the ‘Ishan kon’ or northeastern corner, the development of which is vital for the country’s well–being. The Prime Minister had then outlined his vision of proper connectivity and infrastructure to develop the Northeast and tie it closer to the mainland.
The Centre has already assured total support towards various developmental activities initiated by the Aruchal government. Chief Minister Tuki has upped the ante in Delhi by demanding speedier environmental clearance to power projects in the state, pointing to its total hydel potential of 58,000 MW. While he has decried the negative manner in which green issues have been raised to ‘hijack’ economic growth, it is a fact that the environmental and social impact of such projects will continue to raise concerns, whether in Aruchal or downstream states like Assam. For the developmental vision of one Northeastern state cannot be at the exclusion or expense of another state. This is where the Central Government needs to come in strongly, pushing for a balanced, integrated plan to develop the entire region, filling up the deficits in basic needs, infrastructure, resources, governce and mutual understanding with the rest of the country. The Tarun Gogoi government too needs to review how far Assam has progressed during its rule, in line with the Vision 2025 document it had drawn up with much fanfare in 2002.