Gogoi’s promises to develop border areas remain hollow

Hukanjuri outpost on Aruchal border is filthy, lacks drinking water, vehicles and medical facilities, has not paid power bills to Itagar for months

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, April 29: Every time there is a flare–up of inter–state border conflict, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi harps on developing border areas of Assam. Fifteen years on, very little seems to have changed on the ground.

Even outposts set up for security of border areas lack basic infrastructure, leave alone economic and infrastructural development of these neglected areas.

Consider this: The Hukanjuri border outpost along the Aruchal Pradesh border in Dibrugarh district does not have a single vehicle to conduct patrolling. It did have a motorcycle once, but that too is lying defunct.

A platoon of 19 APBn personnel man this outpost. To patrol the border areas, the outpost staff have to pool with the Forest personnel.

While the border outpost lacks all basic facilities, including potable drinking water, electricity is being supplied to it by the Aruchal Pradesh government.

"The electricity bills are piling up. We are uble to pay the bills. The power supply will be cut off anytime now," said an outpost personnel.

"It has been a hard grind for us here. The government should provide at least the basic infrastructure and facilities. The condition of this outpost has become very unhygienic. When a staff falls ill, access to medical facilities is not easy given the remote location. For everything, we have to depend on others," rued another personnel.

The government built an accommodation hall at the border outpost in 2008–09, but it has failed to serve its purpose due to shoddy quality of work.

According to Assam government claims, Aruchal Pradesh has encroached upon 21,343 hectares of State land in the border areas. The encroached stretches are in Dhemaji, Sonitpur, Sivasagar, Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. The neighbouring State has encroached upon 9,269 hectares of Assam land in Tinsukia district alone, according to Assam government records.

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