North East Council meet: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu pleads better connectivity in state

Pema Khandu

Our Correspondent

Itanagar, July 10: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has pleaded before the North East Council (NEC) to assist the state government for development of the connectivity sector, especially the road sector in the state.

Attending the two-day 67th plenary session of NEC at Shillong in Meghalaya on Monday, Khandu reiterated that his state has been lagging behind in most of the socio-economic indicators as compared to the rest of India and even within the NE region “due to historical neglect”, an official communiqué informed here today.

“I request the NEC to give more emphasis on connectivity specially the roads sector,” Khandu said in his address.

Pointing out that Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest density of road network in the North Eastern Region, the chief minister said, on the lines of Central Road Fund, NEC could explore the possibility of forming a separate fund focusing on big road projects in the region.

Further pointing out that construction of the Trans-Arunachal Highway project taken up by union ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) under Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (DFBOT) mode, was progressing at a sluggish pace due to various reasons with the concessionaire has already applied for foreclosure of the Potin-Pangin stretch of the project, Khandu urged the ministry to expedite construction of Potin-Pangin stretch, as state PWD has already submitted nine DPRs to the Ministry. He added, during the meeting with Union Minister of Road, Transport and Highways on February 28 this year, it was decided to split the Potin-Pangin stretch in realistic sections to complete the work immediately. On air connectivity, he said, “Our dream of having an airport in the state capital is yet to come true and the people of the state are eagerly waiting for this project to materialize. I would like to inform all that my government has finalized the site of the Greenfield airport at Hollongi and has reduced the cost of land acquisition and rehabilitation drastically by one-third of the original cost.”

He urged the DoNER Ministry to provide funds for the Greenfield Airport at Hollongi over and above its normative allocation of Rs 195.90 crore in the line of Tezu Airport (which is ready for operation) funded by NEC.

He further called for NEC and DoNER Ministry’s help for developing tourism, agriculture and allied sector. Besides requesting the NEC to establish a regional Research Institute for Agriculture and Allied Sector in Arunachal Pradesh, Khandu pleaded the Ministry of DoNER and NEC to provide the state technical support in establishing forward and backward linkages in agriculture and horticulture sector which includes Cold chain processing units, Agriculture Mandis, IT support to implement e-NAM and connecting with potential markets.

While pointing out that the easternmost part of the state comprising of Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts was comparatively backward, he said the region needed the Centre’s “special attention” for equitable development.

On hydropower sector, the chief minister said, the state govt has now decided to firmly unleash the huge hydro potential. Out of 151 hydropower projects leased, 15 have already been terminated. Out of the remaining 136 alive projects, 38 projects are below 25 MW and rest 98 projects are in mega category, he disclosed.

“We are ready to hand over these projects to PSUs or Govt undertakings wherever feasible as per mutual terms and conditions,” he added.