state Road to Progress

Most im­proved small

India Today - - THE STATE OF THE STATES - by Kaushik Deka

Re­mote Arunachal Pradesh is in­vest­ing in roads to bridge the growth di­vide. The state’s hopes of reg­is­ter­ing 12 per cent growth dur­ing the 12th Plan pe­riod rest largely on the com­ple­tion of the Trans-arunachal High­way net­work by 2013. Funded largely by the Prime Min­is­ter’s Rs 1,452-crore spe­cial pack­age to the state, the mega 1,559 km two-lane high­way project will touch 11 district head­quar­ters. The state cap­i­tal and re­main­ing five districts will be con­nected to the high­way through link roads which cover an­other 848 km. The project will pro­vide con­nec­tiv­ity to more than 500 vil­lages. “The peo­ple want to re­alise their dream of a vi­brant Arunachal on a par with ar­eas they see across the bor­der,” says former chief min­is­ter Jar­bom Gamlin, re­fer­ring to China.

“Be­cause of poor in­fra­struc­ture and re­mote lo­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties are very low. The govern­ment of­fers up to Rs 20 lakh to self-help groups, es­pe­cially among women to launch small-scale busi­nesses,” says former state fi­nance and plan­ning min­is­ter Ka­likho Pul. The re­sult has been a slow but steady dip in the ra­tio of to­tal debt per per­son.

Mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture build­ing pow­ers the Arunachal Pradesh growth story. The state govern­ment hopes to gen­er­ate 10,000 MW of power dur­ing the 12th Plan pe­riod. The es­ti­mated po­ten­tial for power gen­er­a­tion through hy­dro-elec­tric projects in the state is 63,000 MW. Be­sides hy­dro-elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion plans, a Rs 550-crore elec­tri­fi­ca­tion project is on to har­ness so­lar en­ergy and pro­vide power to all vil­lages in the next two years.

The north-east­ern state bor­ders three coun­tries, China, Myan­mar and Bhutan, but has nei­ther an air­port nor a rail­head. Work is on to put the state on the coun­try’s rail­way and avi­a­tion maps in two years. While an air­port is com­ing up in Itanagar at a cost of Rs 550 crore, Murkongse­lek in East Siang will be con­nected to Har­muti in As­sam through a rail link. Gov­er­nor J.J. Singh is per­son­ally mon­i­tor­ing the progress of the rail­way line. “Rail­way net­work is a ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture that in­te­grates our coun­try. It’s im­por­tant that the sec­ond phase of the broad gauge line that con­nects Itanagar also starts once the first phase gets over next year,” says Singh.

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