Arunachal Pradesh moving towards better connectivity, more employment: CM
All districts of Arunachal Pradesh, including the far-flung ones, would be inter-connected through good quality roads in the next three years to solve major problems of connectivity in the northeastern state that borders three countries, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has said.
Tuki said that Trans-Arunachal highway project had been started to improve internal connectivity in the state and would link 11 district headquarters in the state through two-lane roads built on accepted quality norms. The remaining 6 districts will have lateral connectivity to the highway.
"Communication, whether it is road, air or through phones, is a big issue facing the state). We are addressing them in a phased manner. There is problem of unemployment, which we are addressing now," Tuki told IANS in an exclusive interview here.
Tuki, 49, who became chief minister in November 2011, said the 1,412 km trans-highway project was slated for completion in 2016.
At 83,743 sq. km, Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state in the northeast in terms of area. People travelling from capital Itanagar to some border areas have to take circuitous routes and spend long hours travelling due to poor road connectivity. People from interior areas have to sometimes travel more than a day to reach the capital city and take roads passing through Assam.
Tuki, a former president of the state Congress and a four-time MLA, said 90 percent of contracts had been awarded for the trans-Arunachal highway project.
He admitted that lack of proper road infrastructure was a major handicap in the state realising its tourism potential.
"The Trans-Arunachal highway project is expected to cost around Rs 7,000 crore," he said.
Arunachal Pradesh has a 1,080 km border with China, 160 km with Bhutan and 440 km with Myanmar.
Referring to the problem of unemployment in the state, the chief minister said the government was taking steps to equip youth with job-linked skills. "We intend to provide 100,000 employment opportunities by 2017," the chief minister said.
He said that the government organized "job mela-cum-skill development selection rally", which concluded Sunday, saw participation of over 12,000 youth from various parts of the state. Unemployed youth is estimated to be about 200,000 of the state's population of 1.4 million.
He said the government had also launched some innovative schemes in sectors such as health and agriculture.
"I have faith and belief that people will reciprocate. I am expecting to win 80 to 90 percent of the seats (in the 60-member assembly)," Tuki said.
Tuki said the state had realized less than one percent of its hydroelectric potential of 58,000 MW but the steps had been taken to boost power production by awarding contracts.
The chief minister said that the food security programme, which was implemented in the state Aug 20 to coincide with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary, will be an issue he will take to voters.
Assembly polls will be held in Arunachal Pradesh next year, a few months after the Lok Sabha elections.
"It (the food security programme) will help us," he said.
Tuki said the state government had implemented the promises made to people and was implementing flagship programmes of United Progressive Alliance government.
(Prashant Sood can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 02-09-2013)