12th Five-Year plan critical for Arunachal: CM

ITANAGAR, July 12 – Terming the 12th Five-Year Plan as critical for the development process in the state, Arunachal Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin said that many of the infrastructure and other projects that were under way would see fruition during the next plan period.

Describing Arunachal Pradesh as a ‘special’ State even within the special category States, Gamlin said that poor physical connectivity, low internal resource base, lack of skilled manpower and a long and relatively under-developed international border are some of the major constraints the state is facing, which could prove to be impediments in the its growth targets.

Gamlin was speaking at the regional consultation on the Approach paper for the 12th Five-Year Plan convened by the Planning Commission in Guwahati last week which was chaired by its Deputy Chairman Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, an official communique said here.

Chief Ministers of all the north-eastern states attended the consultation.

Sharing some of the problems of the state, he said that difficult terrain combined with a very sparsely distributed population posed a peculiar development challenge.

“There are places which require 6 to 8 days of foot-march to reach and where a kg of salt costs Rs 120 and a cement bag up to Rs 4,000. As such development activities in these areas turn out to be costly,” he said.

“Our appeal to the Planning Commission is that while considering projects for such regions, typical formulae of cost-benefit analysis should not be applied.

Rather, the vast intangible dividends that this kind of an investment would bring in the long run should be the guiding factor,” he pointed out.

“In addition, the minimum population criteria now followed results in a lot of our habitations not benefiting under many centrally sponsored schemes.

We would request that the guidelines for the centrally sponsored schemes should be made region-specific and should be framed only after extensive discussions with state governments and after field visits,” Gamlin added.

He said that the state government has envisaged a capacity addition of 12,086 MW during the 12th plan period through commissioning of 91 hydroelectric projects.

The entire potential is expected to be realised by the end of the 14th plan period when the annual accruals by the sale of state’s share of free power are expected to be in the range of Rs 10,000 crore.

Gamlin, however, pointed that since all the power produced would need to be evacuated to the National Grid through the Siliguri corridor, the transmission system must be looked into seriously.

“Since the project is too big to be undertaken by the state government alone, it has to be taken up at the national level,” he said and expressed his hope that this would get due attention in the approach paper.

“As transmission systems typically require three to four years to be put in place, work on this should start early,” he added.