Bye, 2017… Hello, 2018

Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging ]
Yet another new year has arrived with the sun’s rays over Dong in Arunachal Pradesh ushering in 2018.
There were many hits and misses in the preceding year. On the positive side, the government introduced many innovative schemes like the eILP, the Ujala scheme offering subsidized LED bulbs and tube-lights; the Chief Minister’s Free Cancer Chemotherapy Scheme for 500 cancer patients for up to Rs 10 lakh per patient per year; the inauguration of the remotest NCC unit of the nation at the government secondary school in Anini, etc.
Other good news included Pasighat being included in the latest list of approved smart cities; the inauguration of the 9.15 km Dhola-Sadiya bridge connecting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh; the triumph of Arunachal climber Anshu Jamsenpa, who scripted history by scaling Mt Everest twice within five days in May.
Another decision welcomed by most citizens was the banning of ‘lal battis’ from all VIP vehicles. Also, in an innovative step towards curbing corruption, instructions were issued to display boards outside all government offices asking people not to pay bribes and to inform appropriate officials about bribes.
Year 2017 was also dominated by events connected to China. It started with a battle of words between India and China regarding the visit by the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh in April. Then came news that China has opened a 409 km new expressway linking Tibet’s capital Lhasa with Nyingchi (which is close to Arunachal Pradesh’ border near Mechuka), and that China has plans to build a 1000 km long tunnel to divert water from the Yarlung Tsangpo river. This was followed by the 71 day ‘eyeball to eyeball’ Indo-China standoff at Doklam. These acrimonious events have ended with the massive contamination of the Siang river, which could affect the lives and livelihood of millions of people living in the Siang and the Brahmaputra valleys and Bangladesh.
Many citizens heaved a sigh of relief over the peaceful settlement of the Doklam crisis. However, the yearend again witnessed Chinese road-builders constructing roads near Tuting. The previous year was also marked by the formation of three new districts- Kamle, Lepa Rada, and Mechukha – with a few more districts lined up.
Last year’s misses included the very poor Class XII and X results of the state with the pass percentage in AISSCE dropping to a lowly 43.33 %; continued suspension of the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme; the APPSC examination controversy; non-commencement of fixed-wing civil flights from completed ALGs like Pasighat, Mechukha, Ziro, and Tezu; the bitter fight between the CoSAAP and student organizations over the extension of the retirement age from 58 to 60 years; and non-completion of the Bogibeel bridge connecting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The new year should be ushered in with new hope. The hope list includes good governance in all fields. Good governance should lead to development and progress in all sectors. Let’s hope for better roads, steady electricity supply, more airports and civil flights, more railways, more industries, better performances by students and sports persons, and more jobs. Let the new year usher in the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme for better health care and more happiness for all!
To paraphrase Robert Frost: The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but Arunachal has promises to keep, and miles to go before Arunachal sleeps, and miles to go before Arunachal sleeps! (The contributor is Retired Group Captain)