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Connectivity key to development: Arunachal CM
 ITANAGAR, March 13 - Asserting that connectivity is the key to all-round development of the state, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu today said despite topographical challenges, works are on to boost connectivity including road, railway and digital connectivity in the land-locked Himalayan state.

Replying to the discussion on the motion of thanks on Governor’s address in the State Assembly, the Chief Minister said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a clear vision for the development of the North-east, including Arunachal Pradesh, which he had committed during his recent visit to Itanagar.”

He told the House that with the financial assistance from the Ministry of Communications and IT, altogether 1,900 telecom towers would be erected in the state in the coming year which will give a major boost to the telecommunication sector, besides augmenting the Digital India initiative.

Describing the Governor’s speech as the reflection of the works executed by the state government as per last year’s budget, Khandu said lots of works were done but all were not reflected in the Governor Brig BD Mishra’s (retired) address delivered on the opening day of the budget session on March 9.

Rejecting the Opposition’s criticism of taking up individual schemes instead of need-based ones depriving their Assembly segments, the Chief Minister said that under the SIDF, schemes were awarded through global tendering and that there was no question of picking individual schemes.

He informed that Daporijo (Upper Subansiri), the home district of senior PPA member Tanga Byaling, got the highest share of the SIDF fund amounting to Rs 34 crore followed by Tali being represented by Markio Tado - Rs 20 crore, former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s assembly segment Sagalee - Rs 15 crore and Leader of Opposition Takam Pario’s home constituency Palin – Rs 12.25 crore.

Participating in the discussion, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein said that the ambitious Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) project, currently in different stages of progress, has brought “a big revolution” in Arunachal in the connectivity sector. Once it gets completed, the agri-horticultural produce from across the State would get the much-needed market linkage which will immensely boost the rural economy. “That is why we are demanding construction of the Frontier Highway and East-West Industrial Corridor, for which the Central Government has already given Rs 22 crore.

Responding to the members’ reservation on funding of the Smart City projects in Pasighat and Itanagar on 50:50 ratio, Mein, also the Minister in charge of Finance, said: “Why should it be on 50:50 ratio? Even the Chief Minister has raised concern on this. I assure the House that we will definitely move Delhi and plead them to make it 90:10 funding pattern.” He also refuted the Opposition charge of meting out a partisan treatment on the development front, and said the Government was taking up need-based schemes without any bias.

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