The dawn of a new year

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Yet another new year dawns! The sun’s rays over Dong village in Arunachal Pradesh ushered in 2019 at the earliest hour in the country.
There were many hits and misses during the preceding year. On the positive side, the good news included inauguration of Pasighat as a smart city, and the selection of Itanagar as a smart city; commissioning of the 9.15 km long Sadiya bridge; re-commencement of commercial flights from Pasighat; start of the academic sessions of the state’s first Sainik School near Pasighat and the first medical college, the TRIHMS; the state government’s decision to set up the much delayed Rajya Sainik Board to look after ex-servicemen’s affairs; four Arunachalee candidates clearing the civil services examinations; many persons from Arunachal successfully climbing Mt Everest; conducting of the Pay Back to Society programme; the launch of the CMAAY health insurance plan; and the launch of citizen programmes like Sarkar Aapke Dwar, Arunachal Rising, etc.
The year ended with inauguration of the longest road-rail bridge at Bogibeel on 25 December. Although it was completed after 21 years, the bridge will connect the northern and southern banks of the Brahmaputra, connecting many districts of Arunachal with Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Jorhat in Assam. The bridge will also allow Arunachalees from Lohit, Namsai, Changlang, Tirap and Longding districts to travel to Itanagar much faster, cutting down travel time by almost 5-7 hours.
On the flipside, the not-so-good news included the decision of the central government to introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016; dissolution of the panchayati raj system and the Itanagar and Pasighat municipal councils due to the failure to conduct elections; the continuing imbroglio of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Combined Competitive Examination; continuing cases of incursions by Chinese troops into Arunachal in Dibang Valley and Tuting; threats of
flashfloods and the associated panic due to sudden blocks in the Siang river; continuing contamination of the Siang river; and Arunachal being ranked at the bottom in the ‘ease of doing business’ ranking among all the states and union territories of India in a list prepared by the industrial policy & promotion department.
Other interesting news included the dismissal of all parliamentary secretaries of the state after the decision of the Itanagar bench of the Gauhati High Court. The number of districts in the state also went up to 25 after the inauguration of Shi Yomi, Lepa Rada and Pakke-Kessang districts.
2019 is slated to be an important and eventful year as the parliamentary and assembly elections are slated to be held simultaneously in April-May. The new year should be ushered in with new hope. The hope list includes good governance in all fields leading 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 sportspersons, and more jobs. Let the new year usher in a new government which is efficient and development-oriented, and, of course, better health and more happiness.
To paraphrase Robert Frost: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but Arunachal has promises to keep, and miles to go before it sleeps, and miles to go before it sleeps.” (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)