PPA seeks explanation over construction of tourism infrastructure in IAF bombing practice zone

ITANAGAR, Dec 10: The People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA) has said that the tourist lodges in Dollungmukh circle, which were dismantled by the Assam government on Friday, were ‘forcibly’ constructed in an area that is used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for bombing practice.
‘This stunning fact was revealed during a meeting with the locals,’ the party said in a press release on Sunday.
Members of the party visited the area after media reports that tourist lodges in Dollungmukh area were dismantled by the Lakhimpur (Assam) administration.
‘This is not an issue of a boundary dispute between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, but of the construction of tourism infrastructure in an area that falls under the jurisdiction of the IAF,’ the party said.
It sought to know from the state government why the tourism infrastructure was constructed in a bombing practice zone.
‘The entire episode needs a systematic inquiry as to why these bungalows, costing Rs 5 crore, were permitted to be built in a bombing practice zone,’ the party said.
It claimed that the tourist lodges were constructed under the ‘direct supervision’ of the state’s tourism department.
‘These lodges were forcibly constructed in a controversial area in spite of the suggestions made by the locals, who wanted those assets to be built near the Dollungmukh hydropower project site,’ the party said, quoting the villagers.
It also quoted the locals as saying that the tourist bungalow project could get sanctioned because of the personal initiative of Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, and that the tender formalities were done through the Directorate of Tourism.
The PPA demanded that the state government come clean on the issue, including as to how the contractor concerned could manage to get the no- objection certificate for the site of the construction.
‘Since the two neighbouring states are under the rule of the same political party, there could have been an amiable meeting between the chief ministers of both the states on the matter, and this eviction drive could have been carried out by the Arunachal government as the area in question falls under the territory of Arunachal Pradesh,’ the release said.
‘It is highly unlikely that Kiren Rijiju, being the Union MoS for Home, was ignorant about the matter,’ the party said, and sought clarification from Chief Minister Pema Khandu, the union minister, and the tourism secretary over the episode.