Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) [India], October 3 (ANI): Dismissing Chinese claims over Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday said he doesn't understand on what basis China keeps making such claims when the state has been an inalienable part of the Indian union over centuries.
Khandu added that the Ministry of External Affairs have reacted appropriately to Chinese assertions over Arunachal.
In an interview with ANI on Tuesday, CM Khandu said, "Is there anything about Arunachal that suggests, even remotely, that it has anything to do with China? I don't know on what basis China makes these claims over Arunachal. For centuries, we have been connected to India. The MEA reacted appropriately whenever China made groundless claims about our state. The people of Arunachal Pradesh are among the most patriotic in the country. When they receive guests, they chant Jai Hind. The people here face a lot of challenges and hardships but our love for the country is never in doubt."On the state government's plans for the state's economic growth, Khandu said he has set sights on making Arunachal the best-performing state in terms of revenue generation in the country in the next 10 years.
"We are aiming to make Arunachal the best-performing state in terms of revenue generation in the country in the next 10 years. Our state is bountiful in terms of resources," Khandu said.
The CM added, "Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state in the Northeast and shares international boundaries with Bhutan (250 km), Tibet-China (1200 km) and Myanmar (550 km). Earlier, development was a huge challenge for the Arunachal Pradesh government. But in the last 9 years, we have seen a transformational change in terms of infrastructure, connectivity (road connectivity, railway connectivity, airport, airway connectivity, digital connectivity) and I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it.
""The most important component of connectivity is road connectivity. We have almost completed the previous trans-Arunachal Highways project of 1,700 km. Now the districts have been connected with double-lane highways. Work on the futuristic 2,500 km-long national highway will start from this year.
Of these, Frontier Highway will span 1,500 km and interconnectivity will be of 1000 km," added Khandu.
"The Frontier Highway will play a vital role in connecting the unconnected border areas. It will not only benefit the local villagers but also aid our border guarding forces such as the Army and the ITBP. It is a very futuristic project and will be a game changer for our state. It will also help our tourism sector as well," Khandu said.
On mobile connectivity in the state, Pema Khandu said for long-term connectivity, the state government has already made plans through cable, but for immediate connectivity, Prime Minister Modi has sanctioned more than 1000 4G mobile network towers for Arunachal Pradesh and the work on installing them has started across the state.
"Many 4G towers have been activated in the border areas. We have asked the companies to complete installation of the remaining towers within six months so that we can link the defence personnel and local villagers through digital connectivity," the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister said.
"Arunachal Pradesh is also so blessed state in terms of resources. In 2015, the GDP of the state was around Rs 20,000 crore and it has touched now almost Rs 40,000 crore. Arunachal Pradesh is number 1 in hydropower potential. We are investing in hydropower in a big way. We held talks with villagers and took their consent before proceeding with projects. With the support of the villagers, we are making forward strides across sectors.
Recently we inked MoUs with PSUs like NEEPCO, NHPC, SJVN and NTPC for 11500 MW power projects," he said. "After completion of these projects in the next 10 years, we will be able to contribute Rs 10,000 crore per annum to the state government and our revenue will also be increased. There are several ongoing hydropower projects, including the 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri project. We want to complete thisproject by 2025 but will ensure the generation of 500 MW from next year. Apart from this, the central government has sanctioned the 2,880 MW Dibang project and the work is ongoing. The state government will draw bulk revenue from this project. Arunachal Pradesh is also known for mighty rivers and our hydropower potential is immense," Khandu said.
On small hydropower projects for villagers and armed forces in the border areas, the Arunachal CM said the cabinet decided to build micro hydropower projects in the border areas inhabited by both civilians and armed forces.
"In the first phase, we sanctioned 50 micro hydropower projects and almost all projects have become operational. Both villagers and armed forces are drawing power from these projects. We will take up other areas in the second phase next year," Khandu said.
On developing the state's tourism sector, the chief minister said the state government has already constructed a two-lane highway in the original Stilwell road to the Myanmar border.
"A region called Hump where many US aircraft crashed during the Second World War is being developed as a tourist spot. We have built a museum at Pasighat, which, I am hopeful, will be inaugurated in November and we will invite the US Ambassador to inaugurate it. We have taken many initiatives for developing the tourism sector of the state," Khandu said.
He also said the 'Vibrant Village' is a very important programme launched by Prime Minister Modi. It was launched this year at Kibithu, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah staying one night at the first vibrant. The Vibrant Village programme was also launched across the country from there.
"In the first phase, 665 villages across the country have been selected for the Vibrant Village programme. Of these, 452 are in Arunachal Pradesh. We have already selected the villages for the first phase. The Indian army and ITBP will play a very important role in developing these vibrant villages," Khandu said. (ANI)