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Arunachal asks Centre to seek funds from World Bank

 ITANAGAR, March 14 – Despite the Centre’s reported reluctance, the Arunachal Government has asked it to continue seeking loans from the World Bank for projects in the border State in spite of objections from China.

Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said that during his recent visit to New Delhi, he came across press reports suggesting that the Centre has decided against pressing for loans from World Bank for various projects in Arunachal and instead mobilise internal resources for them.

“On seeing the press reports, I immediately rushed to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the evening of March 8 and told him it is okay for Central financial grants for developmental projects in Arunachal but we should also seek loans from the World Bank for the State. Otherwise it will give a wrong message,” Khandu told reporters here.

The controversy arose after External Affairs Minister S M Krishna reportedly said that if India can find internal resources to take up those projects in Arunachal, there is no compulsion to go to the World Bank or other funding agencies.

BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad had described Krishna’s statement as a shift in the country’s foreign policy.

The issue also had an echo in the Rajya Sabha when several BJP members including Prabhat Jha said such an attitude on the part of India would mean surrender of sovereignty.

The State has managed an interest-free loan of Rs 300 crore from the Centre to implement the 6th Pay Commission recommendations for State Government employees.

“The State Government has issued an order to pay the last installment of 15 months arrears to keep its commitment,” Khandu said.

The implementation will entail an additional burden of over Rs 1,400 crore in the current year, including arrear components. But the shortfall of Rs 317 crores will be met from the interest-free loan from the Centre, repayable in 20 years. – PTI

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