Arunachal highway project stalled despite PM's repeated promises

The people of Arunachal Pradesh are unhappy with the slow pace of development of the Rs.125 billion trans-state highway, despite a repeated declaration by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to complete the project by 2013, a step that would boost infrastructure in the strategic northeastern state bordering China.
Poor roads and infrastructure, especially roads along the border areas, is a major problem in view of repeated reports of Chinese incursions in Arunachal Pradesh.
Three years after Dr. Singh announced the massive development package for Arunachal Pradesh, the highly ambitious highway is caught in the official labyrinth in the union Environment andForest and Road Transport and Highways ministries.
Dr. Singh on January 31, 2008, had announced a package worth Rs 24,000 crore, including the highway, to link 13 of the state's 16 district headquarters with double-lane roads, right from Tawang on China border to Kanubari, saying, "The sun kisses India first in Arunachal Pradesh. It is our land of the rising sun."
The Union Road Transport and Highways ministry is paying no heed to the repeated promises made by Dr. Singh towards the development of the highway project, resulting in poor connectivity in the state.
The 1,840 km long highway, which will link the state's eleven district headquarters, is facing one hurdle or the other. The apathy of the Road Transport and Highways ministry is making things worse.
"The files are not moving in the ministry and there has been a long delay in clearing the things from the ministry side, resulting in delay of the crucial highway project," sources linked with the project said.
Worried over poor pace of development of the highway, Congress Member of Parliament Takam Sanjoy said: "The delay in the project would hamper movement of locals as well as troops in the border areas due to poor connectivity."
In 2009 also, Dr. Singh said that the Trans-Arunachal Highway, rail and air connectivity, and construction of two small hydro projects would meet the requirement of many remote areas, especially villages located on border areas, suffering from isolation.
Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030-km unfenced border with China. India and China had fought a bitter war in 1962 with the Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh and inflicting heavy casualties on Indian soldiers.
In 2008, the Prime Minister had visited the state amid reports of heavy troop deployment in the border areas in Arunachal Pradesh and announced mega financial package.
The Trans Arunachal Highway will start from Tawang on the Sino-Indian border and pass through Seppa, Sagalee, Hoj, Ziro, Daporizo, Aalo, Pasighat, Roing, Khongsa and Changlang with a link with Saikhowaghat in Assam.
The Union Ministry of Shipping, Road and Transport and Highways had notified it as a national highway 229. It will touch the NH-52 and NH-37 running on both sides of the Brahmaputra in Upper Assam and will be connected by the proposed Bogeebil rail and road bridge.