Arunachal urges Centre to boost infrastructure

GUWAHATI, July 11 – The Government of Arunachal Pradesh has urged upon the Government of India to improve infrastructure along the international border with China. The State Government has also asked the Centre to take up the issue of possible diversion of the river Brahmaputra (Siang) with China.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin said that development of infrastructure along the border with China is a must not only for the benefit of the State, but also for the security of the country. He said that the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has already taken up the issue with the Centre and he also had detailed discussion in this regard in recent meetings with the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission's response in this regard was very positive and Gamlin hoped that the Centre would start taking necessary steps in this regard soon.

Gamlin pointed out that China has constructed roads all along the international border and India must also develop infrastructure along the border so that the Army can move in case of any eventuality. He said that because of the terrain, along with roads and bridges, suspension bridges would also have to be constructed for improving communication network in the international border areas and the Government of India should accord top priority on the issue.

The Arunachal Chief Minister said that lack of road connectivity was one of the major problems faced by the State. However, some major road construction projects have been taken up under the PMGSY and construction of the Trans Arunachal Highway is likely to start soon. The Trans-Arunachal Highway project is being funded by the Centre under the Prime Minister's special package for the State. The construction of the highway will definitely give a major boost to road connectivity in the State, said the Chief Minister.

On the river diversion issue, Gamlin said that the State Government has asked the Centre to take up the issue with China as a State cannot talk with a foreign country directly. "We were informed by the Centre of China's assurance of not diverting the river," he added. He said that if the river is diverted by China, the Siang basin of the State would suffer badly.

The Arunachal Pradesh Government has also requested the Centre to grant clearance to the proposed projects on the Siang river as soon as possible so that India can stake claim of water users' rights if China wants to divert the river, said Gamlin. He admitted that there has been some opposition from different organizations in Assam on the issue of setting up of dam projects in Arunachal Pradesh and said that necessary safety measures would be taken while constructing projects on the Siang river and its tributaries.

When asked whether construction of dam projects would be safe in a seismically active area, Gamlin said that the Government of India has already constituted a team for river basin study and pointed out that the experts would definitely suggest necessary safety measures before giving clearance for the projects.