GANGTOK, May 20: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday attended the first review meeting of the India-China border infrastructure chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The chief ministers and representatives of five Himalayan states bordering China took part in the meeting at Chintan Bhavan here.
Khandu, in his speech, appreciated the initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) initiative to hold such a historic meeting that he felt should be organised annually. He appealed Singh to hold next meeting in Arunachal and offered full support of the state government to host it, a CMO report said.
The chief minister said development came very late to Arunachal and sought the centre’s continued support as the state is 100 per cent dependent on it. He, however, said Arunachal was moving towards self-reliance through policies to tap and convert the state’s vast resources into capital.
Khandu underlined connectivity as the biggest hurdle to development in Arunachal. He specifically raised concern over migration of people away from the border areas due to lack of basic public facilities and called for steps from the centre to prevent it.
He appreciated Delhi’s initiative to build frontier highway in the state connecting 11 districts bordering China. He said the highway would immensely benefit the border people as well benefit the defence personnel for movement along the borders.
On state government's support to central paramilitary forces, the chief minister informed the Union Home Minister that the state cabinet has decided to grant Rs 50 lakhs instead of earlier Rs 2 lakhs ex-gratia for those central forces jawans that are martyred while on duty in Arunachal. He also informed that for those jawans left physically disabled in action will be granted Rs 10 lakhs instead of earlier amount of Rs 1 lakh.
The chief minister informed the union minister about the public perception that BRO’s work efficiency has fallen, something BRO field officials have attributed to reduction in funds available with the organisation. He therefore requested the centre to empower BRO financially so that work on border roads does not suffer.
Speaking on BADP scheme, Khandu appreciated MHA for enhancing the fund from Rs 900-crore to Rs 1100-crore this year. But he pointed out that Arunachal gets a tiny share when the BADP fund is distributed among the states.
He also raised the inability of the state to pay 10 per cent share for release of BADP funds. The chief minister therefore requested MHA to take up the matter in the next cabinet.
On relation between the people of Arunachal with defence-paramilitary forces, the chief minister said the presence of these forces has contributed much to the development of the state. He said Arunachal is the only state in North East where Hindi is spoken on a large scale and attributed it to presence of the forces in the state.
Khandu specifically thanked the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) for having good relation with the Arunachali people and conducting various programmes such as health camp in building trust among people towards the defence forces.
He thanked Singh for deciding to shift the frontier ITBP headquarters from Shillong to Itanagar and demanded a battalion headquarters in the state capital.
Sports Parliamentary Secretary Nyamar Karbak, Principal Secretary Satya Gopal and DGP Sandeep Goel accompanied the chief minister on his visit to Sikkim, the report added.