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Arunachal celebrates 25th Statehood Day
CORRESPONDENT
 ITANAGAR, Feb 20 – Acknowledging the pressing needs of building infrastructure in border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia today assured the State of all possible help from the Centre for all-round development of the land-locked mountainous State.

“Located in the northeastern most tip of the country, Arunachal, also known as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, is the first Indian State to greet the Sun at dawn. We, at the Centre and in Planning Commission, are putting all-out efforts to accelerate the development activities in all border areas of the State,” said Dr Ahluwalia while addressing a function that marked the silver jubilee celebrations of Arunachal’s Statehood Day at Indira Gandhi Park here.

Coinciding with the 25th Statehood Day celebrations, a three-day ‘Festival of Arunachal’ has also commenced at the venue which was later declared open by the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman amid thunderous applause from the huge gathering that also included State Governor Gen (Retd) J J Singh, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, Justice Madan B Lakur, among others.

While admitting that Arunachal especially its remote border areas were yet to see modern developments, Dr Ahluwalia said that the mega developmental package announced at the same ground three years ago by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh would be of immense help in that direction.

“It’s the responsibility of the government – both at the Centre as well as in the State to speed up the pace of development and ensure developmental fruits reach out to those border areas,” said Ahluwalia, who earlier released a festival souvenir.

Further avowing that there will be no dearth of fund from Central Government’s end, he said the State Government should endeavour for speedy implementation of the projects and judicious utilisation of the developmental fund.

The Plan panel’s deputy chairman also promised to consider the project proposals submitted by the State Government for infrastructure development.

The State Government had earlier submitted several project proposals to the Centre that included providing road connectivity to 22 unconnected administrative centres in border areas, drinking water facilities in remote areas, construction of Trans-Arunachal Power Grid, and maintenance and construction of foot suspension bridges, porter tracks and log bridges in border areas for easy movement of Defence personnel.

Earlier in his speech, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu pleaded the Centre to provide a special financial package to Arunachal Pradesh (which shares about 1,900 km border with China, Myanmar and Bhutan) for speedy infrastructure development in the State to match with developments taking place in other side of the international border.

Citing the Prime Minister’s January 31, 2008 commitment – “We will surely provide the required funds for providing drinking water facilities in remote villages and settlements of Arunachal Pradesh”, Khandu said, “We have accordingly identified 1087 habitations covering a population of 1,25,655 in the border blocks of the State which should be taken up on an accelerated basis under this project.

“I earnestly request that the project amount of Rs 377.76 crore may be sanctioned to the State over a three year period to execute this important project. The required DPRs have already been submitted to the Planning Commission by my government.”

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