GUWAHATI: The BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh will boost infrastructure at ten towns along international borders, particularly with China, to prevent the migration of villagers.
There has been a rapid migration of villagers to state capital Itanagar and other towns over the past few years. The scarcity of food and basic amenities due to lack of terrestrial access are believed to be the reasons.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu agreed the matter was of grave concern given that Arunachal shares its border not only with China (1,200 km) but also Bhutan (550 km) and Myanmar (150 km).
He informed the Assembly that the state government had sought a special package of Rs.460 crore from the Centre for infrastructure development in border areas. To begin with, he said the government would boost infrastructure at ten border towns.
“Once the project is cleared by the Centre, we believe we can thwart the migration of the people by developing the border areas with all amenities,” he said.
Former Arunachal MP, Takam Sanjay, had once said that incursions by the Chinese soldiers were less of a worry than the locals’ migrations from border areas. People settled in border areas are considered the first line of defence.
An Army officer, who has served in Arunachal, told this newspaper that it was of utmost importance to develop the border areas – migration or no migration.
“Development is in progress in Arunachal’s border areas but the pace of it has been hampered due to issues relating to weather, roads etc,” he said.
“We must have our populations on our land but the problem is our border areas are underdeveloped. We have to have a rapid pace of infrastructure and technological development so that the people don’t need to go elsewhere for food,” the officer said.
He felt the government has a huge challenge to prevent the migration of the villagers. “The government will be able to stop them from migrating only by putting in place the required infrastructure,” he added.