state Road to Progress
Most improved small
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.