Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging ]
The previous month was marked by major developments on both sides of the border with China. China recently opened a 409 km new expressway linking Tibet’s capital Lhasa with Nyingchi, which is close to Arunachal Pradesh border opposite Mechuka. The expressway cuts Lhasa-Nyingchi travel time from eight to five hours and is also compatible for military equipment, providing advantage for the Chinese military to move its troops and weaponry faster.
China is also planning to build a 1000 km long tunnel to divert water from Yarlung Tsangpo River in southern Tibet, which turns into the river Brahmaputra once it enters India, to the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang. India has already flagged its concerns to Beijing about various dams being built by it on Brahmaputra.
On the Indian side, we are struggling to complete the Tezpur-Tawang road. Other roads like Likabali-Aalo-Mechuka, Pasighat-Tuting, Tezu-Walong roads are in dilapidated condition. Considering the condition of these roads it would be difficult to move heavy army vehicles and artillery to the border areas.
Recently NITI Aayog has proposed a Multipurpose River Valley Project for Siang River. The proposed project is estimated to be a 300 metre high dam with power generation capacity of 10000 MW. Immediately after the announcement, many local organizations have declared opposition to the project. It may be noted that the Chinese have already built one dam on the Tsangpo/Siang and are building two more!!
During the recent Doklam standoff between India and China, tensions rose between the two Asian powers. Many in India and Arunachal believed that India is strong enough to stand its ground. If these kind of major differences in infrastructure exist, can we really stand our ground?
The State Govt finally gave assent to the demand of govt employees to increase the retirement age from 58 to 60 years.
Aspects supporting the decision include prolonging availability of experience for two more years, parity with central services etc. Issues against the decision include delayed post creation for unemployed youth, delayed access to smarter technology, availability of new/smarter talent in the form of youth etc. This decision may affect the employment opportunities of thousands of unemployed youth of the state. It appears that in this fight between fathers/mothers on one side and children on the other, the parents won!!
Two major projects are running into unplanned delays. The Greenfield airport for Itanagar is delayed due to site finalization and other bureaucratic hurdles like land compensation etc. The other is the first medical college hospital of the state, Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Science. Plans for commencing academic session from 2018-19 is running into delays due to objections regarding violations in recruitment rules for faculty and not following MCI guidelines. It appears we have to wait some time more to get our own home grown doctors!! (The writer is a retired Group Captain of the Indian Air Force)